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Hannes Ribarits

Einladung: Hannes Ribarits. 2014

06.09.2014 - 12.09.2014

Pinacoteca, Wien / Österreich

Hannes Ribarits's recent practice brings painting, Photoshop graphics, collage, and installation together in a body of work that initially presents as like a construction kit for the 'creative act' itself. An act that, according to a common formula, consists of a certain ratio of inspiration to perspiration. In this case, however, the perspiration suggests less an assiduous industriousness than a hands-on approach to working: Tools and Fluid is the title of one collage, Tools and Ghosts the title of another....
Titles such as these subsume Hannes Ribarits's materials, which might consist quite classically of acrylic paint, or spray paint, or printer ink ("Fluid"), but which also include various symbols or icons such as Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher ("Ghosts"). Among Ribarits's "Tools" are a laptop, a printer, and scissors – as well as a hammer that, though it may not have found use as a tool per se, appears as a computer graphic in one image. These are just a few of the elements comprising a painterly practice that leaves behind the post-Fordist distinction between the manual processing of material and the cognitive processing of symbols by identifying itself as an emphatically manual, hands-on processing of symbols.
This blurring of distinctions may even go so far that the materials and symbols exchange their respective functions: The "Fluid" cited refers not only to physical acrylic paint, poured precisely onto the collages; in the form of digitally rendered blood drops that float in ominous isolation over the surface of some prints, it also becomes a symbol and ghost of an era in which AIDS reigned alongside Thatcher and Reagan. At the same time, that ghost can materialize in a variety of shapes: as golf balls, flat screens and office desks, or as specific individuals like Reagan or Thatcher, whose bust Ribarits renders in one print as a digitally sculpted Sphinx.
Despite all the figures that inhabit Hannes Ribarits's work, his painting-collages are neither figurative nor narrative. Their transitions from the material to the immaterial do not follow a narrative logic, occurring instead as transformations, as special effects. Ribarits not only grew up in the era of Reagan, Thatcher, and their combined impact, he was also socialized through early computer role-playing games and sequel-spawning Hollywood blockbusters; to a significant degree, his imagery is drawn from their aesthetics. Portals, holes in space and time, and time machines are recurring motifs that allow random switching between the tangible and the intangible, the real and the virtual. They are themselves tools whose symbolic function is to posit the possibility of escape: Escape from the ghosts of neo-liberalism, and from viral infection.
It is not least of all this dissociation from the ghosts of one's own socialization that gives impetus to Hannes Ribarits's practice. With his poured colors, awkward tags, and sloppily edited computer graphics, Ribarits presents a creative act that is dirty and rather clumsy, a deliberate contrast to the neoliberal virtuosity supposedly exhibited by the ‘Wall Street sharks’ and other 'Republican Party animals' that populate his collages. Ribarits achieves this dissociation where the work evokes the kind of slacker mentality and unproductive creativity promoted by the video games of the 1980s and 90s: Their players are wasting time, creating inconsequential worlds within the computer whose utopias or dystopias exist only as special effects. It is in this perspiration-free zone that Hannes Ribarits finds inspiration.
Kathi Hofer, 2013

[Quelle: Einladung]

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last modified at 01.09.2014


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