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Gerold Tusch


20 March 2013 to 30 September 2013
Upper BelvedereBelvedere

In the exhibition series Intervention, launched in 2007, the Belvedere regularly invites Austrian and international artists to create site-specific artworks with reference to the museum’s architecture, collections, and history. Following works by Gudrun Kampl, Brigitte Kowanz, Franz Kapfer, Tillman Kaiser as well as Lisa Oppenheim and Agnieszka Polska, from 20 March the Belvedere is presenting an Intervention by Gerold Tusch. This Austrian artist has explored the forms of Baroque architectural sculpture and created large-scale ceramic objects in the Grand Staircase and Palace Chapel in the Upper Belvedere.
In his art, Gerold Tusch approaches a historical repertoire of forms from a contemporary perspective, thus drawing attention to the rather outmoded genre of decor and craftwork, a genre that usually played a supporting role in the history of art. He often utilizes Baroque forms that are frequently regarded as mere embellishments, as their role in the main was for display and glorification. Through the process of extracting and renegotiating these forms, Tusch endows them with a certain autonomy. He detaches decorative objects from their context – ornamental vases, arabesques, rocaille, a multitude of floral and vegetable motifs – and isolates them, assessing their effect in terms of both form and content before incorporating them in his designs. By emancipating these decorative elements from their original purpose and context, the artist creates independent forms in his ceramic sculptures.
For the Intervention at the Upper Belvedere, Gerold Tusch has intensively explored the repertoire of forms in Baroque architectural sculpture and developed positions that confront this historical site with contemporary paraphrases. Stucco clouds, often used in decoration to enhance the splendour of Baroque churches, are transported into a new art form and Baroque ornamental vases take on a new slant. In his large-scale cloud object Gloria II, at the entrance to the gallery of the Palace Chapel, Tusch focuses on the cloud image as an important element in Baroque painting and sculpture. In depictions of an apotheosis – acceptance into a transcendental realm leaving all earthly existence behind – this played a key role as a motif. Gerold Tusch transports the cloud into a new form, placing it close to the heavenly space of the Palace Chapel and thus becoming its contemporary counterpart and extension. In the two empty niches on the Grand Staircase, Tusch has placed a novel redefinition of the Baroque ornamental vase. The title of these objects The Three Gorgons has a connection with the subject matter of the staircase, which is dedicated to Alexander the Great. According to Hellenistic myths, the Gorgon was originally the sister of this General from classical antiquity. Tusch addresses this subject with tongue-in-cheek irony and, looking to another source of post-Homeric poetry that tells of three Gorgons, he chose a triad for his vase objects that disrupts the symmetry of the Baroque site in their sculptural presentation.