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Sterbezimmer Johannes Vogl Guillaume Bijl

Artist

Guillaume Bijl Antwerp, 1946 –

Date 1991
Object type sculpture
Medium, technique wood, plexi
Dimensions

126 × 32 × 32.5 cm

Inventory number 2017.3.U
Collection Department of Art after 1800
On view This artwork is on view at the permanent exhibition

The memorial room of Johannes Vogl was a life-size installation created by Guillaume Bijl in a private gallery in Vienna in 1991. With his arrangement of a middle-class interior, which visitors could observe in a classical “museum” environment, from behind a cordon, the artist took the phenomenon of the “cult of the hero”, which focuses on famous personalities and the everyday objects they used, commercialised in the context of mass tourism, and placed it under a critical spotlight: the composer Johannes Vogl, after all, never actually existed. The presentation of a fictive identity as a tourist sight not only shines a light on the arbitrariness of constructing historical and cultural memorials, but also on the manipulability of the viewer and the problem of uncritical “cultural consumption”, which is one of the central issues in Bijl’s activities. The defining elements of the installation are the way in which commemorative sites are “staged”, the pretence, and the (tragi-)comedy of public presentation. The transformation of simple, everyday objects into relics and (pseudo)- museum pieces is particularly direct in the installation shown here: by being displayed in a special cabinet accompanied by a memorial panel, Johannes Vogl’s “personal” effects are lifted out of their ordinary context – although in fact, like the elements used for the installation in Vienna, the artist probably picked the objects up at a flea market.

Dominika Sodics

This record is subject to revision due to ongoing research.

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