The constantly changing scene of Liam Gillick and the Austrian collective Gelatin’s current show at the Kunsthalle in Vienna is slightly unnerving. The entire installation looks like it’s on the verge of collapse. And recently, a band of altered musical instruments have sporadically starting playing themselves.
For their first major collaboration, Gillick and Gelatin have transformed the institution into a treacherous-looking film set for their experimental movie, Stinking Dawn, which was filmed over the course of a week in July. A motley group of artists, friends, musicians, and performancers were cast as members of the ensemble, and unwitting museum visitors became extras in the production.
The Kunsthalle describes the project as an exploration of destiny, looking at “human tolerance in the face of oppression, political crisis, and excessive self-delusion.” All the world’s crises are manifest, played out in the artists’ twisted microcosmic universe.
The show is now the remnants of the film set, and it marries Gillick’s proficient critical writing, which unpacks neo-liberal political structures, with Gelatin’s exceptional knack for pushing creative boundaries. The plot of the movie, yet to be released, focuses on four “privileged young people” who are sifting through a world on the brink of ruin. The mise-en-scene references Roman amphitheaters, night clubs, and prisons. Black graffiti crawls up the sides of the installation, and includes various repeated lines. “We are fashist worms” is scrawled on a wall with an intentional misspelling.
Gelatin is well known for its irreverent art practice. In 2008, the group transformed the terrace of the Hayward Gallery in London into an infinity pool with a fleet of little row boats that visitors could use. At a provocative solo exhibition at New York’s Greene Naftali gallery in 2017, Gelatin presented an array of holy ceramics that the four artists had had sex with.
The film is still in editing stages, but its due to be premiered later this fall in a yet-to-be-announced location. For now, take a look at installation views and shots of the performers, below. The show is on view at the Kunsthalle Wien through October 6.
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