24. 01. 2012

Johanna Tinzl & Stefan Flunger

,La valla es europeo. The Fence is European.' (2011)

,Dienstag Abend' von Ludwig Kittinger & Fernando Mesquita

    Johanna Tinzl and Stefan Flunger employ their recently created series of works to move literally and metaphorically along the European Union’s external borders. In places where the purpose of high fences, barricades and military patrols is to prevent immigrants from non-European states from crossing Europe’s topographical and/or political borders and fleeing from here to there, the artists educe structural similarities between the places they have visited and present them as the visual essence of their journeys in the exhibition space.
    In this context, they see the theme of »translation« not only in the linguistic sense but above all as a spatial and formal-aesthetic principle by which to create multilayered situational transfers. The aspect of transposition and interpretation that is decisive in any translation process, becomes evident in the video »La valla es europeo. The Fence is European.«. During a taxi drive along the fence between Morocco and Melilla, the complexity and explosiveness of the political situation in North Africa is explained in simple words by the taxi driver engaged by Tinzl and Flunger. So that the non-Spanish-speaking passengers can also understand what he has to say, the chauffeur comments on the high barrier – which is erected in three rows and topped with NATO-wire – in an insistent manner throughout the entire trip. However, the viewers of the video do not hear the language of the man from Melilla but a German transcription, which is spoken onto the soundtrack by a local taxi driver. In »La valla es europeo. The Fence is European.« Johanna Tinzl and Stefan Flunger break away from the use of purely documentary strategies in the sphere of art by consciously avoiding documenting up-to-date stories of individual immigrants and so reifying them for the purposes of their art. The language of the taxi driver from the Spanish exclave is used in order to create a connection between the realities of life on the external borders of Europe and those in Central Europe. When the artists show this video in different places, the text from the man from Melilla is translated into the language of the relevant country and repeated by a local taxi driver.

    Franz Thalmair, 2012

    ,La valla es europeo. The Fence is European.‘, 2011, HDV, 13min47s
    (enlarge: click image)

    Johanna Tinzl & Stefan Flunger
    (AT, 1976 / AT, 1969), living and working in Vienna
    collaboration since 2004

    Johanna Tinzl
    2007 – 2002 University of Applied Arts Vienna – Transmedia Art
    2002 – 1996 University Mozarteum Salzburg
    Stefan Flunger
    1999 – 1989 University of Innsbruck – Institute of Art History
    Solo exhibitions
    Neue Galerie, Innsbruck (2011) // VBKÖ, Vienna (2011)
    Group exhibitions (selection)
    Reinsberg – Public Art – Lower Austria (2011) // Hotel Charleroi – in Coop. with B.P.S.22, Charleroi, Belgium (2011) //
    unORTnung VI-III (2010-2008), Vienna // Kunstraum Niederösterreich, Vienna (2010) // Kunstpavillon, Innsbruck (2010) //
    BKS Garage, Copenhagen (2010) // Gallery Konzett, Vienna (2009) // Essl Museum, Klosterneuburg (2008) // …

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