By Angelica Moschin
The work of Alessandro Rauschmann is a compelling journey through the deepest
questions of the humankind relating to death, decay and beauty. From his beginnings,
he has been working on two different yet compatible levels spanning both
performance and sculpture.
Although visually and ontologically quite different, his performances and the so-
called relics resulting from them speak the same language of his artefacts. By training
his microscope on some unsettlingly elusive and subtly repulsive life-forms,
Rauschmann “distils” them up until a form of pleasure – which is somehow
tantamount to poetic catharsis – is finally reached.
He challenges the notion of performance as something inherently transient that is
forever lost in the moment it is produced and instaed embarks on a quest for stability
and traceability. Bouncing back and forth between the mundane and the ritual, the
sacred and the profane, his relics have indeed the power to retain the traces and marks
of his movements or those of others and momentarily suspend the flow of time. This
is particularly true for a work such as Sangue Spray, 2016, reminiscent of the first
prehistoric cave paintings and the way pigment was originally applied on surfaces by
the spray technique. Not unlike our ancestors, Rauschmann is spirited by the will to
make his presence in the world strikingly visible and sow his traces along the way, be
they his fingerprint impressed onto a negative photo paper during a 2013 performance
called Souvenir or a bloody kiss stamped on a piece of paper (Blutkuss, 2012).
What binds these three works together is undoubtedly the will to employ one’s body
both as a medium and a subject. Being ambivalent from the very start, the use of
blood not only stands for a personal signature but also hints at the artist’s urge to get
rid of his most typical means and replace them with himself in the flesh. In a nod to
the body art and its legacy, the pervasive use of blood once again speaks of our limits
and all the wounds we bring and bury within us.
The smoldering intensity of his artefacts speaks of a dramatic tension between what
they might represent and what they actually are – objects and materials drawn from
our everyday life such as gloves, cables, t-shits, furs, bread and so forth.
These totemic sculptures breed and breath in the liminal divide between one’s rational
sense of self and the threat of what might be called the “Abject”. As Julia Kristeva
understood it, “Abjection preserves what existed in the archaism of pre-objectal
relationship, in the immemorial violence with which a body becomes separated from
another body in order to be”. Unlike desire – which can still be coordinated and
controlled in a rational way – the Abject is linked to both fear and jouissance. “One
does not know it, one does not desire it, one joys in it. Violently and painfully. A
passion”. The presence of blood in most of Rauschmann’s works may well represent
a form of Abject that virtually brings us back to our birth and primeval separation
from the Mother.
His artefacts are unpredictable, openly eerie, sometimes playful (Monkey’s Paw,
2017) and nevertheless perfectly balanced. Fascinated by their visceral palpability and
formal possibilities, Rauschmann found these objects across the years and decided to
collect and combine them in various ways. In his hands, some become sculptural
subjects endowed with raw human – or animal – qualities and some others avidly yet
soberly appropriates religious concepts while conveying a sense of absence and loss
(Confessionale astratto, 2016; Tre Chiodi, 2016; The Coming God خداوند آزادى, 2016;
Their forms – always subject to change – stand for a praise of whatever lives, changes
and decays around and within us and their physical and metaphysical layering evokes
age-old questions pertaining to the representation of life and death.
In one of his most recent work, Gattopardo, 2018, a heavily worn-out leopard fur
accidentally found on a street by the artist can be either seen as a nurturing, life-
giving deity to worship or a kind of ex voto bearing past experiences and traumas.
By considering the vernacular as an invaluable source, Rauschmann deftly moderates
histories, traditions, and legacies in a flux.
Angelica Moschin 2018