Tanja Widmann “Lying Daughters” at FELIX GAUDLITZ, Vienna

Lying Daughters

Letting the operative sites arrive at themselves within the mechanisms of reprint, imprint, reproduction and reading out the code in a non-identity is a marked and forced emptying of the name. Produced by Johannes Porsch. It is a desire to become function, not out of the impulse of over-adjustment, but to be able to switch back and forth between 1st and 3rd person. What could this work look like? One is placed in the narrative itself, and retrospectively a context of action is sketched out that is as false as the self-data in a confessional poem, false in the sense of questionable. Free indirect speech, Deleuze calls it at the beginning of the 90s and takes Pasolini as an example of how the effect of conditions and relation functions as the cause of truth effects. A simulation relationship between the objective camera and the view of the subject of the narration, into which the artist enters.

Now is played back what is not wanted at all: Mommy, Daddy, Artist, Teenage trouble. I am (not) that person. And yet they get stuck somewhere in between, in the grid, which is constantly distorted. It runs through all the rooms here and also through the individual works, structures and subjugates, but also carries the bodies in its coordinates and catches them. It takes on different qualities, can shift gazes, becomes mobile, airy and reflexive. In an act of mimicry, the producers continue to build it so that they can become a derelict algorithm, one that brings back the leftovers or what has been discarded. In the process, the normativity of the grid is perverted by its twists and turns.

Richard Prince’s Girlfriends series begun in 1992, circulated in multiple variations, and was published in 1993 under the same title. A striking example of appropriation art with which we are familiar, it is both an occasion for retrospective effects and an innocuous precursor to the stark imagery of today. In the relationship between Prince, the subjects and their image, there was an ambivalence of liberating and dominating that, as it turns out, is not timelessly exciting, and perhaps not even timelessly ambivalent. In “Lying Daughters,” there is an interest in the position that has become obsolete with time, and the potential devaluation of critical projects or cherished contradictions that comes with it. The irresolvable remainder is juxtaposed with the possibility of simply being wrong. In the process, the fetishized moment is appropriated in order to withdraw it from Prince‘s fossilized desire and finally add it to the collection of one‘s own abilities.

Michael Taussig writes of the image attacking whose image it is (in the late 1990s and in a post-colonial context); of representation sharing or taking from the power of the sitter as a testament to the mimetic faculty in art. Drawing this movement into the context of the exhibition, one could say: here something is captured through a copy in order to make oneself different, perverse, for oneself. The magic of art takes place in making copies and as long as they are not in the glitches of reproduction technologies, we are also all ghosts ourselves, don‘t get me wrong, a pseudo-narrative, an appropriation in the sense of: Every word she writes is a lie, even “and” and “but.”

Inka Meissner

at FELIX GAUDLITZ, Vienna
until August 4, 2023


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