Schleifmühlgasse 18 - 1040 Vienna 
+43-1-9207778 -

Installation, photography
21.9. - 10.11.2012
WHERE: Galerie Michaela Stock & NEXT DOOR galerie michaela stock, Schleifmühlgasse 18, 1040 Vienna



A man in a dapper pin-striped suit and white shirt – highly concentrated - is looking upwards, since what he is doing, asks for all of his attention. Seven tennis rackets are thrown in the air by him in his juggling. The height of the shot, its duration and the shot frequency of the objects – all of these components can be mathematically calculated to an exact point. Just a moment of abstraction is enough and all the constants get shifted, things get out of control.

The fact that Patrick Baumüller obtains the role of a juggler in this photographic self portrait, which is one of three art pieces in his current exhibition at the Galerie Michaela Stock, is equally significant for his self-conception as an artist as it is also characteristic for the nature of most of his works.

Together with the juggler, the artist shares the status of an outcast in society. Thus the art of juggling can be traced back for thousands of years in various cultures, yet the artists not always enjoyed the reputation they deserved. A lot of times they were characterized as pranksters and scallywags, the significance of their activity being questioned. The independent fine arts, working without any commission, often gets under the pressure to justify its actions. Creating successful art involves engaging in a juggling act both dealing with social adjustment and independence. To survive as an artist, financial juggling skills are often required. As it seems, the artist Patrick Baumüller appears to have a good grip of everything in his self portrait. In reality though, it becomes clear that he doesn't have a problem with dropping a racket from time to time.

Since the all too perfect is none of his interest, whereas it is only suggested to the observer, to lure him closer to the objects, which at the same time deprive themselves of any absorption. One is too easily tempted to touch the individual pieces of the art installation named Bento. The soft shapes in bright colours, attractively presented on top of a piece of glass that seems to float freely in the space, captivate the eye through their enormous haptic quality. But what presents itself as compact won't last for long; it wouldn't sustain touches, but would crumble into dusts of colour. With this piece of art Baumüller accomplishes an act of juggling between attraction and refusal. This polarity is significant to the third object in this exhibition, a gold-plated drainpipe, which distinctly conveys the traces of its refinement, while the banality of the original material stays evident.

"All that glisters is not gold", is uttered by the Prince of Morocco in Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice". Baumüller, a lot of his previous work- / and exhibition titles go to show, is keen on figures of speech like this. For instance he named his model of banister rails, which were designed for a bank building Fix is Nix [equivalent to the saying nothing is carved in stone] – showing a handrail that refers to the stock index of the Dow Jones at the time of the stock market crash at the end of the 1930s.

Baumüller called his current show Gran Nada, a title which literally can be translated to the "Great Nothingness". A gold-plated drainpipe, small-scale sculptures that collapse when being touched and an artist, who pretends to master the art of juggling (for actually he owes his acrobatic virtuosity to digital montage) ... all of this is illusion, a magic trick, is fake, all in all a sophisticated play with appearance and reality.
(Manisha Jothady, 2012)

Patrick Baumüller

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