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;

Inri, 2017).

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