The Weird Case/Fall Offenberger

Sturz knapp vor dem Ziel! (Fall, shortly before the finishing Line!) / 1959/2003 / C­print on cardboard / 30,5 x 75 cm

A heap of misery? ­ A real document: The picture of the fall of an ice-skater, Franz Offenberger, just before almost becoming the European champion of 1959. It is believed that the unrecognizable condition of his appearing self, in this unforgettable and painful moment, was to be processed and mastered. If symbolic victories are conceivable, one will also have to speak of symbolic contentment. The image of the intact body can only spring from an imagination that is able to swell into complex and cosmological models. Integrity and boundaries of the body are prostheses and pragmatic short-cuts. The common repression of the sensation of monstrous strangers within our tissue is probably in accordance with a technical dullness.

Offenberger 1 (1, down) / 1961/2003 / plaster, wire mesh, wood, skid / 53 x 230 x 106 cm

The attempt to master the shock of seeing where there is nothing to see (newspaper clipping), is proof that Offenberger was able to leap over the shadows of his pursuers ­as if the shadows of his own self. The assumption is evident: the skater Offenberger tried to live up to the image of himself, in the moment of defeat. A faithful translation of the depiction, in conjunction with the idea of the maximum tolerable stretch of memory of the sliding fall over the ice, will probably have produced the object shown on top. After all, the visible extremities are likely to pass as a complete index relative to the skater. Similarity can not be denied, the face is lost. The promised satisfaction with this type of mimicry is doubted. How far affects are to be considered, thought and felt collectively…will have to be in the center of future rehearsals. The second sculpture might have felt like a triumph, time will tell.

Offenberger 2 (32, up) / 1978/2003 / wood, iron, paint, papermaché, wire mesh, skid, thread / diam. 222 cm / Show: am fluß (treibt eine wespe die schläft aber bloß) (On the River (floats a Wasp but only Sleeps)) / 05.05. ­ 27.06.2003 / Kerstin Engholm Galerie, Vienna