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Klemens Torggler "Picture Doors" by Artelier Contemporary

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Published on Apr 13, 2014

„Picture doors"

This art work by the artist Klemens Torggler, born in 1961 in Hall in Tirol and now living in Vienna, is the outcome of a response to various media. As Torggler himself indicates, painting occupies the central position in his creative work.
This piece of work, entitled „picture doors", combines elements from the media of painting and sculpture and object. It comprises 15 doors/room dividers, each in two parts and in the same format, featuring 15 different designs. The door is a patented moveable object consisting of two revolving square parts like stretcher-frame pictures. These two door panels serve as moveable picture bases onto which are mounted digitally printed canvases on wooden frames. At the front they are linked by means of two visible bars; on the reverse they have a gravity-operated balancing mechanism.
A further aspect of the work is movement. If the object is moved manually, it undergoes a revolving movement or a creative change as a result of the active intervention of the observer. This leads to the movement and alteration of the picture's configuration being made visible.
Torggler chooses his designs and titles very carefully, and has subdivided the 15 parts of this work into three groups, while at the same time emphasising that this division into categories is not to be viewed too strictly. A group of objects with the titles „yves", „joseph", „marcel", „kurt", „andy" reflects his response to 20th-century art history. In these works he consciously establishes references to important artists of classic modernism.
The picture door entitled „marcel" relates to Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968), forerunner of modern art and father of 'readymades', where objects in everyday use are transformed into works of art. Duchamp, who was also concerned with the problem of movement in art, used a bicycle to construct the first moveable readymade, 'Bicycle Wheel'. The design of Torggler's picture door, a number of found drinks coasters combined on the computer to constitute a picture, refers to Duchamp's ‚Rotary Glass Plaques' of 1920, where Duchamp uses the rotating motion of circle and spiral to create illusions of space.
The picture door „yves", with a design representing a scanned and digitally manipulated image of a ‚Wettex' sponge cloth, alludes to the artist Yves Klein (1928-1962), considered to be the inventor of monochrome painting. Klein's name is particularly associated with his famous blue monochromes and International Klein Blue, which he patented.
The „andy" picture door is used by Torggler to demonstrate his reverence for the star of American pop art Andy Warhol (1928-1987) and his 1984 Rorschach image series. Warhol's works were based on the so-called Rorschach test, a psychological procedure developed in 1911 by the Swiss psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach: he presented his patients with panels showing symmetrical ink-blot patterns and asked them what they could read into them. In Torggler's piece, one Rorschach pattern produces two Rorschach patterns or two states.
The piece bearing the title „joseph", which uses a piece of brown felt as its basis, pays homage to the artist Joseph Beuys (1921-1986), who in 1958 was the first to employ materials rarely used in art: felt and fat.
The work „kurt" reflects Torggler's response to the German artist Kurt Schwitters (1887-1948), who rose to fame thanks to his 'Merz pictures'. Torggler references Schwitters' first Merz picture, which was produced in 1919 and has since disappeared. In this collage, 'Merz' is still visible: it is a fragment of the word 'Kommerz' (commerce) from an advertisement for the 'Kommerz- und Privatbank' (Commercial and Private Bank), which became a motto for Kurt Schwitters' later work. According to Torggler, his piece is 'a metaphorical deconstruction of the word 'Kommerz'.'

A group of „picture doors" with the titles „jump", „prost" (cheers), "autos", „more cars", „schwimmen"(swimming) sees Torggler using visual material from 1960s magazines. He bases his work on designs which evoke associations with ‚movement', and thus also refer to the 'picture door' as moveable object. The found material was further manipulated by the artist on a computer.
For the third group of ‚picture doors' with the titles „zucchero"(sugar), „wischen"(wipe), „sesam öffne dich"(open sesame), „sandwich" , „walk", Torggler found his originals in the world of everyday life. He produced the necessary material himself by photographing everyday or household motifs. But the photos were no more than raw material: they only became a picture after intensive processing and composition on the computer. These designs also allude to the characteristics of the door as object.
Text: Iskra Buschek

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