Article Number: 9121
Soft Cover, German, Thread Stitching, 254 Pages, 1996
Bice Curiger

Parkett No. 47 / 1996

Oursler, Pettibon, Schütte

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Spooky Realism The remarkably lifelike, unmistakable reality advanced by the art in this issue of PARKETT is deceptive. One finds oneself repeatedly ensnared by the seductive call of recognition, only to end up making the fatal leap into the void.

Take Tony Oursler’s ragged beings: We are tormented by their rebellious presence not only because their emotional problems plague us like a swarm of mosquitoes, but because their voices seem to rise out of fathomless depths. By giving them our attention, we merely aggravate the prevailing aura of impotence. This rendezvous between real viewers and fake social welfare cases is a multiple trap. We are clearly part of reality—but which one? And is that eminently plausible slice of life simply an extension of the cold current of TV reality that confounds matters even more by taking to the streets and lying under a mattress? Fortunately, there is "comic relief,” brief though it is, for the sense of superiority that makes us laugh at these homunculi’s absurd situation inevitably turns against us. Inexorably we are drawn into the mindset that is spawned by today’s spooky reality. Similarly, we are compelled by Raymond Pettibon’s litanies, by his clairvoyant fragments of thought and shattering pictorial refrains, to cling to unrealizable expectations. Emulating a genre in his drawings that promises "coarser fare," he does not, it seems, advance the demand for the hothouse delicacy of art. But languages and codes may come in disguise; reality multiplies or evaporates.

When a host of peculiar voices rises in chorus, it is time to open wide the doors. Thomas Schütte’s human figures have recently acquired the proportions of science fiction. How real are the envisioned people of the future if they seem to have sprung from collective memory? In any case, we stand before them as we do before Michelangelo’s David.Are myths truer than reality? The INSERT by Zoe Leonard and Cheryl Dunye displays the cogency of documented fiction, or rather fictional documentation, demonstrating once again how effortlessly we believe in the bogus traces of a “public" life, as if it had already become part of our common heritage! Language: English/German