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Bombarding all Senses

Paul Renner

CALF’S HEAD, FROG THIGH STEW, HERMAPHRODITE SORREL…the idea of the over­all work of art of artist Paul Ren­ner can be inter­pre­ted as exci­tin­g­ly dif­fe­rent now and again; his ‘Thea­trum Ana­to­mic­um’ and ‘Ver­bo­te­ne Wirts­haus’ made an inter­na­tio­nal splash. The artist from the Vor­arl­berg regi­on is at home in Bre­gen­zer­wald and near Nap­les as well as in the who­le world, and inter­prets tra­vel­ling as a semi­nal con­tri­bu­ti­on to his art. ‘Coo­king, pain­ting, wri­ting musi­cal scores, crea­ting sculp­tures isn’t all it boils down to; tra­vel­ling is just as important, for it allows you to gather impres­si­ons to deve­lop your crea­ti­vi­ty.’ He’s tra­vel­led around 20 mys­ti­cal loca­ti­ons in Euro­pe with his ‘The Hell Fire Tou­ring Club’ and enjoy­ed expe­ri­en­ces which sca­red him, pos­ses­sed him, and allo­wed him to over­co­me his limi­ta­ti­ons, but that’s exact­ly what art should do accord­ing to Paul Renner.

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Our paths are gui­ded in such an auto­ma­ted way, that we can only regu­la­te them by being sho­cked via art‘. Ren­ner is par­ti­cu­lar­ly keen when he doesn’t under­stand some­thing. His decisi­on to walk the path of an artist cau­sed qui­te an upro­ar back at home, as his par­ents were some­what extre­mist in their views. ‘My mother was a Nazi, Oberg­au­füh­re­rin, and my father was part of the resis­tance. I expe­ri­en­ced this sur­re­al sto­ry per­so­nal­ly. They both remai­ned true to their ide­als until their very last breath. Howe­ver, they never sepa­ra­ted, even though they fought qui­te a lot when it came to poli­ti­cal issu­es; but other than that, they always loved each other.’ His three role models were Her­mann Nitsch, Tade­usz Kan­tor and Sun Ra. Three Peop­le who enri­ched his life in the 70s with a who­le new world view, one he could under­stand and wan­ted to know more about.

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Paul Ren­ner hims­elf con­si­de­red Her­mann Nitsch the god­f­a­ther of Punk, and wan­ted to learn all about excess, into­xi­ca­ti­on and art, which is why he was Nitsch’s assi­stant for 10 years. Alrea­dy back then, Nitsch didn’t trust anyo­ne other than Paul when it came to ‘coo­king art’. ‘My grand­mo­ther had a guest­house, the­re was always a lot of coo­king going on back at my place. Coo­ke­ry play­ed a role in Nitsch’s theat­re and, as I could actual­ly cook, I coo­ked for him. I noti­ced that the spi­ces, scents, and tas­tes are part of the action, part of the sce­ne. I was incredi­b­ly proud.’ When Ren­ner got acquain­ted with two Oxford pro­fes­sors, Med­lar Lucan and Duri­an Grey and their ‘The Deca­dent Cook­book’ in the 90s, it beca­me his bible. The two were pure theo­re­ti­ci­ans. And so Paul Ren­ner was plun­ged deep into art, ‘becau­se if you can’t real­ly do some­thing, you sam­ple it; that’s how crea­ti­vi­ty works. It then beco­mes the engi­ne for ide­as.’ His cur­rent culi­na­ry pro­ject is cal­led The FAKE, becau­se it focu­ses on how to simu­la­te tas­tes we don’t know.

As an examp­le, he brings up faux turt­le soup from his grandmother’s reci­pe book. Tog­e­ther with a cook from Vien­na he crea­tes dis­hes they think they know the tas­te of. It also con­tains ingre­dients of a social natu­re. ‘The coun­ter­at­tack on a food indus­try and gour­met maga­zi­ne which are making its con­su­mers dum­ber and dum­ber, which are full of idio­cy, whe­re they try to for­ce their beliefs down on peop­le, tel­ling them what’s good and what isn’t, and how spe­ci­fic wines and dis­hes should tas­te. Whe­re­as I care about tas­te and not about The­se ridi­cu­lous explana­ti­ons. We’re taking over what others are faking.

La Cuc­ca­gna 2013, Acca­de­mia di Bre­ra Milano
The Hell Fire Tou­ring Club 2002 mit Med­lar Lucan & Duri­an Gray

Paul Ren­ner uses dif­fe­rent mate­ri­als and tech­ni­ques. So he pulls i.e. exis­ting walls with honey­comb. ‘When I speak of the honey­comb, I also speak of the social sta­te. This is a word which is most­ly trod­den on and dis­re­gar­ded the most; a beha­viour embo­di­ed by poli­tics who­se aim is to vili­fy it even more.’ Paul Renner’s ide­al sce­n­a­rio is to bom­bard all sen­ses at the same time with his anar­chic, sub­ver­si­ve, and expe­ri­men­tal approach in order to shock. He hea­vi­ly reli­es on the phi­lo­so­phy of aut­hor Oswald Wie­ner. Man doesn‘t deci­de what he wants, rather inner mecha­nisms do it for him. The­se mecha­nisms and their deve­lo­p­ment are what inte­rest Paul Ren­ner so much, and take him on a meta­phy­si­cal jour­ney. ‘I’m moving in the direc­tion of still working on the fourth dimen­si­on, yet deep down I’m inte­res­ted in achie­ving that place whe­re meta­phy­sics beco­me spi­ri­tu­al.’ When asked about today’s deli­very of art, Ren­ner mis­ses the fact that art has the power to chan­ge us to such a Point whe­re we’re no lon­ger one with socie­ty. ‘We belie­ve that ‘fee­ling’ is a con­cept you can rese­arch. The more shaken the fee­ling is, the har­der it is to accept Socie­ty as it is. The objec­ti­ve of my art is to trans­form dest­ruc­tion into posi­ti­ve energy

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