Othmar Krenn

Teilummantelung, 1995 [Partial coating]

For this sculpture, an erratic block—a large quarry stone—was welded into a steel coating in a technically complex process. This coating fits closely into and along the contours of the stone, so that as a whole the object might even make us think of a piece of jewellery. Krenn works with an awareness of the beauty of its surface, and uses it to produce a clash between the found (natural) and created (cultural) form. This raises questions about the relationship between nature and civilisation, and explores the dominant intervention of humans in the ‘natural’ world.


In a series of both large and small-scale sculptures, Othmar Krenn expresses his idea of a principle of duality, approaching it again and again with different materials and conceptual modes.


At the centre of this series of works is the confrontation between stone and metal, in several variations and typologies: coated stones, stone rasters, stone disks and cones. At first glance, the versatility of the variations on this basic idea that is reflected again and again seem to merely express the connection of nature and civilisation.


Upon closer inspection, the dichotomies contained in the work become apparent: the overall shape is based on an erratic block cut out of a quarry, which also, through the choice of material alone, creates an ambivalent relationship to what is commonly referred to as “nature”.


The welded steel coating – only made possible through a technologically intricate process – continues this theme of ambivalence. The coating precisely follows the heights and depths of the stone and is both a decorative element and a dominating intervention in the natural object.


What enhances the real, natural fragment appropriates and destroys it at the same time. Krenn is aware of the illusoriness through which he creates a clash between erratic (natural) and created (cultural) forms.


Different materials and their mergence replace traditional symbolic forms that were, and are still, used for representing this theme, not only since the ecology debate has reached its current level of intensity. The direction in which the artist has positioned his theses is also apparent in one of his many performances, where he appeared in public space locked in a rastered cage.

Author: Werner Fenz 
Plan & Overview: Position 31
Owner: [Leder & Schuh AG]
Biography: Othmar Krenn

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