Werner Reiterer

gesture, 2003/04

Reiterer’s sculpture examines the principle of permanence and unchangeability. It grows again and again, swelling from a hollow into a sphere only to collapse with a loud bang shortly after its full development, and spreads itself out across the grass like a carelessly discarded plastic skin. This constant process of rising and collapsing challenges our understanding of the terms sculpture and object, as well as our habits of perception. Reiterer’s flamboyant, colourful intervention also serves as a playful model of interaction with the constructed environment.


A plastic cover, its garish colour forming an extreme contrast to the surrounding natural ambience, is blown up into a perfect ball, only to collapse again with a loud bang shortly after its completion, and to then spread across the lawn like a shapeless, carelessly shed plastic skin before the whole process begins again.  

Unlike most of the other sculptures in the park, which are based on the principles of permanence and immutability, this object intervenes in its landscaped surroundings as a gesture that continuously repeats itself, thus thwarting its artificially natural framework while at the same time referring to its structure. Among other things, this means that valleys and hills, statics and tectonics are both quoted and alienated by the language of art. This permanent rising and collapsing motion corrects an ingrained interpretative concept of sculptures and objects on the one hand, and constitutes a playful, fast-motion model of geological processes on the other.


One of the key characteristics of Werner Reiterer’s art is his effort to destabilise our habits of perception. His intention is not to confuse viewers with outlandish, reference-less artistic feats, but to draw attention to those interfaces where ingrained patterns of behaviour are challenged and where, through a shift of the frames of reference, a vacuum is created that can immediately be filled with a new configuration of content.


The dimensions of Reiterer’s pieces are not always fully transparent at first sight – they are visual “games” with a conceptual basis, and they do not manifest themselves in the far-away land of art, but on the level of everyday visual impacts. These principles are also apparent in the luridly coloured intervention in the sculpture park – the balloon that continuously repeats the process of taking and losing shape.

Author: Werner Fenz
Plan & Overview: Position 52
Owner: [property of the Private Foundation Austrian Sculpture Park]
Biography: Werner Reiterer 

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