There are so many varieties of Germanic culture here in Bregenz that are not mixable, and I see that as a kind of geyser, like anything that builds up enough pressure, you have to lance it or pop it, that’s a geyser, that’s a pimple, a pimple popper. You know, that’s what it is. That’s what philosophy is. Philosophy is a popped pimple. All of these simultaneous cultures are teutonic (of a sort) and if you read tectonic as teutonic plates, one can understand the allusion to the geyser.
Lawrence Weiner, Bregenz, September 2016
The exhibition title WHEREWITHAL in white uppercase letters is outlined in black. It is a work about language and, according to Weiner, a mental image for the state of society, people, and the world today.
Art has to ask questions, stated Lawrence Weiner during his first visit to Kunsthaus Bregenz. If it contented itself with predetermined answers, it would fall into the traps of complacency and simple illustration. Born in 1942 in New York, Lawrence Weiner is one of the world’s most renowned artists and a cofounder of American conceptual art. In realizing art as an intellectual act, Weiner has from the very beginning worked with language. On the wall it attains a virtually tangible existence. »First there was the word, and with the word one realized that there was something before the word.« (Lawrence Weiner, 1996) Weiner always employs two languages, English and the respective native language, the objects acquiring both optical »dignity« and an interplay between understanding and space.
On the walls of Kunsthaus Bregenz Weiner’s texts become a commentary on the architecture, the space, and sensory experience. His works are only apparently site-specific. They relate to themselves, pursue elliptical odysseys through meaning and create deft plays on society, politics, and the place of art.
Lawrence Weiner is particularly important to Kunsthaus Bregenz because of his spatial thinking. The model for his text works across the building’s four floors is, according to Weiner, a kind of geyser. Geysers provide valves for excessive pressure, and art is a spontaneous escape from apparently hermetic tectonic crusts. He admits to that as being »idealistic«, but this nevertheless remains one of art’s tasks.