Manfred Peckl, Tourette, 2011
Collage on wood, uv-laquer
205 x 174 cm
Manfred Peckl / TOURETTE
“Today, the linear perspective of a homogenous world picture dissolves into the facets of a mosaic.” (Norbert Bolz)
Under the title “Tourette,” Manfred Peckl creates a cosmos of rage and linguistic slip-ups, which the viewer steps right into at the start of the exhibition when confronted by a round, magenta banner of fury. The large and small-format collages look vulgar, sometimes obscene, that Peckl playfully assembles, combining word snippets with motifs and ideas borrowed from urban posters. Accompanied by performative “shout ins,” where the public is encouraged to let out those swearwords, curses and taboo feelings, the exhibition breaks with established social codes for proper behavior.
Through the principle of collage that consists of found material, which the artist cuts up, cuts out and even shreds in order to create something new with it in the space of the picture, it becomes possible to dislodge typographies and photographic images from their original context and to rearrange signs, among things. The heterogeneous parts assembled in each picture demand that the recipient actively read the work and presuppose an existing cultural knowledge, because “an artwork fundamentally communicates an uncertain message, a plurality of signifiers, which are contained in a single signifier” (Umberto Eco).
Using the medium of writing, Peckl’s current works express both rage and anger as well as pain and rejection, which is underscored in the portraits where the facial expressions and gestures play a particularly compelling role. In the middle of the exhibition, the focus in the work ‘Tourette’ is on streams of text that run through the center of the picture, verbalizing aggressive utterances, which overlap and send the gaze spiraling all over the image, pulling it in like a whirlpool. The colorful words insistently impose themselves on the viewer, building up in such a way that they become impenetrable, making it impossible for the viewer to escape: In “Tourette,” the cursing culminates in uncontrollable staccato-like utterances.
Together with the portraits, the written verbalizations congeal into commentary by or about the persons depicted: In the exchange between viewer and picture, the verbal aggression is directed at whoever might be looking at the picture. Surrounded by a sphere of reference comprised of song-like cussing, touching on subject matter from feces and filth to descriptions of sexual organs all the way to animal names, Peckl liberates taboo emotions and does so by employing words that are otherwise used pejoratively. Finally, in the dark cabinet, grotesque faces gather around the viewer who must walk right into the center of it. The circle motif refers to the drastic sense of confinement generated by angry states of mind, to the hermetic isolation that is ultimately reflected in Tourette’s Syndrome.
Through the picture as perpetrator of verbal attacks, which is definitely a provocative experience for the viewer, the artist’s concept takes into account the fact that the viewer will have responses to the aggression, because as Franz Kiener describes in his book on the word as a weapon, the perpetrator-victim relationship is one based on dialogue. Peckl’s current exhibition creates a space for rage and uncontrolled cursing freed from taboos, where viewers are ultimately invited to preserve their very own wild and chaotic utterances and rants in writing, to participate in a form of catharsis that has long been taboo and to assert themselves in Peckl’s cosmos of unbridled emotions.