15.11. - 23.11.2010
With his sculptural arrangements, Kay Walkowiak offers apparently unoccupied places, alluring the observer into the free space of thoughts. Walkowiak builds frames, which can carry an empty space with an implicitness equal to their own load and to that of their purpose. Some of these structures evoke the equipment of playgrounds or theme parks. Some of the components are recognisable as objects of the everyday. Walkowiak helps himself to the things’ connotations, his work thereby offering accessible convergences. Formal and former acquaintances can become a chance at entry into a game of thought for the viewer of his sculptures.
Without needing to search for the fate or possible plaisir that can be really and physically experienced, one can participate within the scenes he has provided. In an early model of such a setting, Walkowiak placed a spring board in the portico of the MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art in Vienna and entitled it: ins Leere, 2006.
The consequences of utilising a Walkowiak need not always be so fatal. A spontaneous knowledge of purpose regarding the experience with the offered things – a feeling of some kind – is sufficient in managing to refrain from actually using the objects. In this tradition, an offered chair consequently need not be occupied, and this assigned place need not be filled in order to conceive of it as an offer for spiritual participation or for a study of its visà vis counterpart, (Philodendron, 2008).
Purely gestural, subtle reactions may be conducive of a congenial encounter at a distance. Though, they also represent a form of stagnancy and of shy reservation. Not all of the counterparts created by Walkowiak share these friendly intentions. In Rotkelchen, 2006, an orange structure on wheels and with two loudspeakers opportunistically acts as a mobile podium for one’s own elevation and amplification. Walkowiak’s attractions go one step further, as prosthetics and sex toys incongruously find themselves integrated as the sexual organs of his sculptural protagonists. In Electric Ladies, 2009, he unites four pastel tripods into a sort of loosely positioned phalanx. Each of these protagonists presents a plastic vulva and ducks in a sort of pose of expectation. In their serial composition, they could be four vehement members of a cover band. Simultaneously, they offer themselves up as degrading masturbatory crutches.
In Ich Ich, 2008, Walkowiak constructs another baby blue representative of a masturbation rack and furnished it, below its axis of symmetry, with a mirror, two dildos, grips and a microphone. »Well, good«, I present myself with this offer and participate in thought. I perform this consciously, so that no one observes me in doing so, aside from myself. And, should something in fact go awry, I claim humour as a possible exitscenario and pointedly smile as a back door for escaping from the object, from myself, and from my fantasy. The more present my imaginary performance, the more absent the sculpture, and the more absent I am, myself. »But wait, just a minute!« because there is evidently nothing occurring here – and there will not be. To such an extent, participation can thusly err to a moment of frustration as well. In this regard, though, the sculptures that Walkowiak creates are not hermetic or selfcontained. They remain inviolable and even more unreachable. As a consequence, they present themselves as abandoned posts, as rigid situations of their own solitude. To see such a thing as a possibility can lead to the awareness that should be understood as a limitation.
In the photograph, Pink, 2008, Walkowiak steers the view toward the hollow hand. Two fingers are fixed together with tape, fashioning – in this pose of mutual hindrance – a new, stinted model hand.
In Brutbeutel, 2010, another empty space presents itself as a form, circumferentially enclosed by a bag, which is opened at the top and held up by a sort of assisting construction. Following participatory clumsiness and further distraction, the question of what frames and constructions actually site here poses itself once more. What can take the centre, that can be entirely selfcontaining, but that adopts nothing from the space it temporarily occupies? What can receive but does not embrace?
Plato explained the uterus as a symbol for potential emptiness. And, it is perhaps ever since this space no longer surrounds us that the psyche has constantly been freezing and aspiring for recognition and impossible possibilities. Thus, everything that happens occurs in an alternating bath of attraction and repudiation.
In Pleasure Seeker, 2010, Walkowiak mounts grips from a halved bicycle handlebar onto a stable concrete base. How short sighted would it be to want to hold on, as lasting entitlement to the feeling of comfort cannot be pegged down either.