A gigantic rock appears to be floating in an interior. What you might take to be a simple photomontage in the age of cut, copy and paste is in fact intended to be transferred by the Steinbrener/Dempf & Huber artist group into selected publicly accessible interiors in the form of a three-dimensional object (eight metres high, five metres across, and four metres deep). On the one hand, “To be in Limbo” can be seen as a hommage to Magrittes floating stones, on the other it revives the important question of “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”.
Putting seemingly impossible ideas into practice and thus surprising and disconcerting the viewer was already a key aspect of past works of Steinbrener/Dempf & Huber (e.g. “Delete”, “Pass the Buck”, “Trouble in Paradise”, “Jesuitenkosmos” or “Freeze”). Similar to numerous of René Magritte’s works, the “To be in Limbo” project combines the unbelievable with the physically impossible.
The floating Nike has been a recurrent motif since Greek sculpture of the sixth century BC. The Library of Alexandria featured figures floating in a magnetic field. Over the centuries, floating became the epitome of the supernatural. Throughout the history of art, right up to the twentieth century, sculptors used the representation of floating to demonstrate their ability to shape heavy material such as stone and metal so skilfully that the laws of physics appeared no longer to apply. The surrealists challenged these laws again and again.
In the Jesuit Church in Vienna the “To be in Limbo” project to be carried out, the rock appears menacing, with the spiritual aspect assuming a Damoclean impression at this particular site.
The eight-metre-high and five-metre-wide plastic rock can be split into six parts, weighs approx. 500kg and is suspended at three points on 2mm wire rope. The project is codeveloped with and structurally supervised by Bollinger+Grohmann+Schneider, an engineering firm for load-bearing structure and façade planning, geometry development and building physics.