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Patrick Topitschnig is a Vienna-based filmmaker and audio artist, also collaborating on theatre projects.
He works primarily with video and sound, often within installative contexts. His works center on direct physical experience and immediate reception of time, as well as on enduring and measuring the passing of time on a visual or on an acoustic basis. Permanent repetitions or continuous oscillations constitute a recurrent theme.
After finishing his studies in Commercial Information Technology he studied Intermedia Art and Narrative Film in Vienna and Berlin under the likes of Bernhard Leitner, Erwin Wurm, Constanze Ruhm and Thomas Arslan. For his diploma in 2012 he produced the experimental video “Right to Hospitality”. He received several awards, such as the Fred Adelmueller Grant and the Ursula Blickle Preis for his video "Concision of the Whole" (2007) ("Zerschneidung des Ganzen"). In 2013 he was granted the STARTstipendium for video and media art (Austrian Federal Ministry for Culture and Arts).
Carusel / Drawdown / KRIPPE / Mark&Garry / Concision of the whole / Scream
Video, 5:45min, 2016
“Through precisely composed filmic tableaux and minimal movements, the work Carusel encapsulates the image of an underground, post-apocalyptic playground, while elsewhere various doomsday scenarios take their course. It portrays the Zeitgeist-phenomenon celebrated by pop culture in graphic novels, computer games and television series in all of its pessimistic bliss. Carusel triggers chains of associations between mythical traditions and the fear of darkness, underground and uncertainty. In an elevator ride in one of the scenes towards the end of the film, we eavesdrop on the conversation of a family, suggesting that the world is still standing. Carusel was shot in the damp caverns of a former Romanian salt mine, “Salina Turda”, which was reused as a bomb shelter during World War II and then refurbished as an underground amusement park. Though equipped with a carousel, ping-pong tables, a children’s playground and rowboats, the site with its massive threatening/imposing steel structures and surreal neon-objects still radiates a gloomy atmosphere and ambience of fear. It seems that the mythical echoes of the past still resonate in this space, and absurdly merge with the eerie and bizarre theme park.” Marlies Wirth
Video, 3:57min, 2017
Video, 6:15min, 2012
Sound Design: Andreas Trobollowitsch
The breath is the greediest part of the body.“ Crib shows parts of stuffed animals, which are „dissected“ by the camera. The repertoire of forms includes nails, claws, hair, feathers, etc. of the animals. By the exchange between sharpness and blur the recipient apprehends only the fragmented „material“. However, they are not being represented as a whole. Only through the filmic montage they are brought together as one.
Video, 7:20min, 2013
The last resting place has been used as a theme in literature and the arts for centuries, often it has also been a taboo. My approach to the work Mark&Garry was a moment of insight not too long ago, when I realized that in most modern cemeteries graves plots are no longer dug by hand but instead my industrial mechanical means. I held a romantic view that graves for people were also dug by the hands of people.
In the video one of the gravediggers illustrates this romantic misconception when he makes the comment: `Normally, it doesn‘t look like this in the movies`. Here the false conclusion of my romantic approach and the real situation becomes apparent. Hence, the video shows the contemporary process of digging a grave, executed by the two gravediggers Garry and Mark at Melbourne Central Cemetery.
The working individuals are actually never shown, but only the work, or the machines doing the work, respectively. There is a stark contrast between the precise measuring of the grave on the one hand and the brute digging of the hydraulic shovel on the other. Tranquility and noise, precise work and brute digging alternate in this windy and quiet cemetery setting.
However, statements such as `I don‘t like being watched while doing this` reveal the fact that the apparently deritualized work of digging a grave really still is and probably will remain a difficult and rather personal, burden of human work.
Concision of the whole
Video, 6:06min, 2008
“The work Concision of the whole (2008) by Patrick Topitschnig refers to a concept of the Viennese artist Konrad Bayer, who, through poetical Dadaist expression, strove to challenge his audience’s perception of events and happenings in the “Art Club” and the “Wiener Gruppe”.
The focus of Topitschnig’s video is a reflection on a deserted landscape and impressions and close-ups of surreal objects: antiquated coaches, playground objects, broken and decaying of architectural fragments. Using a static camera position the artist portrays compositions in intense colors, accompanied by a minimal soundtrack. The latter, due to the wind in the microphone, creates a rumbling, eerie noise, thereby achieving the disruption of temporal continuity and spatial coherence.
A character created by Bayer at one point claimed that time is the fragmentation of the whole by means of the senses. Topitschnig himself transports temporal and spatial divergence via sound and by assembling individual images over subtle movements, such as the flight of a bird or the gentle rolling and swaying of grasses and trees in the wind.
By use of simple means, Topitschnig achieves a temporal, slowly unfolding and utterly convincing effect in his philosophical reflection.” Angela Stief
Video, 2:10, 2015
Scream is an ironic homage to Samuel Beckett‘s Breath (1969).
At the apex of his minimalistic work, Beckett conceived this short theater piece. Breath is to be realized with Beckett‘s meticulous instructions within its five acts.
Beckett himself describes the work as „a farce in five acts“. Whether he relates this to the content of the piece or the piece itself remains uncertain. But certainly it is one of the most extensively interpreted pieces of theater.
Courtesy of the Artist
Image Credits: Patrick Topitschnig, Carousel, Video, 2016
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