Manfred Erjautz

The Silent Cell, 1992/94

Logos, barcodes, advertising texts or objects with a fixed meaning are Erjautz’s principal material. In this context, he vividly illustrates that we are bound up in text structures—in art as well as in everyday life. The constructive elements of this sculpture are lines that have become metal, derived from computer bar codes. The abstract construct on an artificial lawn is reminiscent of a cell. On entering, one is surrounded by the barcode—and also by the text that this code stands for. Barcodes also contain the prices of goods, so that this sculpture seems to be created from an assumed but unspoken value system.


The fact that a piece of art provides more information than merely its primary exterior appearance, is widely known. The pyramids in Egypt are not only tombs, still lifes of the 17th century are not only delicately painted decorative objects. Entire iconographic programmes can be read into the façades of baroque palaces, giving information about their stately inhabitants.


Let us not forget the mystics of figures that are also present in music and oriental ornaments  filled with allusions. If we are suddenly confronted with an enormous hot dog out of which a friendly chef smiles at us, we know what the building is designated for – and this not only since Las Vegas. Works of art are texts, information that can be read and understood by the insider. 

This is exactly what Manfred Erjautz aims at with his art. Logos, bar codes, advertising texts, objects and material with specified content (Lego) are his main materials. Thereby he insistently illustrates the fact that we are bound in text structures, in art even more so than in everyday life.


Thus, for instance, the whole surface of our towns which face the public, has essentially got the task of attracting our attention. The environment becomes readable, advertising has become part of building technology, not to mention flexible media walls in public spaces.


Erjautz builds his sculpture as a building or tent. Constructive elements are lines turned into metal, derived from computer bar codes. Inside the ground is artificial lawn. Only informed visitors to this cell are surrounded by a text. Everyone else is locked in an abstract construction, which will possibly remind them of something familiar – a tent in the field.

Author: Günther Holler-Schuster 
Plan & Overview: Position 25
Owner: [Austrian Sculpture Park, Universalmuseum Joanneum]
Biography: Manfred Erjautz  

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