The six artistic interventions by the artist-collective Steinbrener/Dempf & Huber in several enclosures at Schönbrunn are an experimental set-up, drawing on the artistic method of the Ready-made. A sunken car wreck at the rhinos, railroad tracks in the bison pen or toxic waste in the aquarium are unexpectedly interfering with our notions of idyllic wildlife. The viewer is forced to reconsider traditional modes of animal presentation and simultaneously to question the authenticity of concepts which are restaging ‘natural’ environments while they are increasingly endangered.
The concept of the Ready-made allows for a confrontation of nature vs. civilization and initiates a shift of context: The source materials – in this case: the original venues – are bared of their primary function, and open up for new connotations. Such a distortion of realities corresponds to the intention to explore issues of wildlife presentation on the basis of non-scientific and subjective methods. Thus, new perspectives arise, which can also be considered as a breach of taboo.
Present-day conceptions of zoological gardens aim at the presentation of animals in an idyllic and apparently natural environment, untouched by civilization. But this is a contemporary conception, since courtly menageries and kennels were adapted to the exposure of animals as decorative objects. Until the early years of the 20th century, animals were part of a preferably spectacular and exotic staging, to the entertainment and amazement of the public. The artificial and the sensational were foregrounded, without creating a realistic setting of the natural environment of the animals.
The realization and presentation of the installations is carried out in congenial cooperation with Tiergarten Schönbrunn, where the artists’ concern for environmental and socio-political questions is shared. At the zoo in Vienna, which is one of the most popular sights of Austria, “Trouble in Paradise” evokes a strong public resonance as a vital artistic comment on these current issues.
Texte: Bernhard Kellner
Auftraggeber Tiergarten Schönbrunn
Produktionsdesign Martin Huber • Moritz Muhrhofer
Projektleitung Katharina Boesch – section.a
Unterstützt von Österreichische Bundesforste • MA 48 • WKO • Unilever • Lenzing Papier