Markus Guschelbauer: Caught in the Rack
6 November – 5 December 2015
Vienna based artist Markus Guschelbauer builds ephemeral sculptures / architecture in nature which are created solely for the camera and consequently for gallery visitors. Thus his work is not about a land art but rather about creating installations in anonymous locations that, once photographed, lose their initial meaning, as the artist simply dismantles them.
Guschelbauer’s key interest is an examination of the relationship between landscape and culture; in particular, there is also a profound questioning of depiction of landscape as determined throughout the history of art. In his case, trees, water, hills, grasses, etc. are detached from their natural context and placed in artificial juxtapositions, the main purpose of which is aesthetic composition.
In his more recent works Guschelbauer transformed his artistic scope: the exterior became the interior. The space generated by the artist is therefore a stage for depicting nature, be with natural elements or artificially constructed objects. But the real three-dimensional space is staged and aimed for a two-dimensional surface which could easily confuse viewers’ spatial perception. The large-format photographs and the objects with a sculptural character are placed opposite to each other.
With these works Guschelbauer discusses the decline of natural habitats and immense changes in the environment: the literal habitat destruction as well as the changes that occured because of pollution and climate change. This destruction leads to global loss of biodiversity. In a similar way the works of Guschelbauer effect the viewer. He directs the construction of natural habitats, however, they are replaced with artificial objects that resemble plants.
With his images and objects produced for this exhibition the artist performs a reality in which the absolute definition of “natural” and “artificial” could easily be confused. How natural is planted, expertly cut peach tree? How essential is it for the nature to be genuine? Does it decreases its beauty? Guschelbauer’s sophisticated strategies prove how little is needed to illustrate an apparent visual dichotomy between natural and superficial objects.
Markus Guschelbauer was born in Breže (Freisach) in Carinthia, Austria. He currently lives and works in Vienna. Since graduating in Photography at the Akademie für Angewandte Kunst in Vienna in 2009 he has been working as a freelance artist.