Can art and business coexist

AA Bronson: Where the hammer and vase peacefully coexist

In this gallery: 2 images

Graz / Salzburg - "The dead are part of our community", says the healer and artist AA Bronson. When he prepares an exhibition, he therefore involves the deceased in the respective environment, primarily those who have been repressed by history. In the Salzburg Art Association, for example, it was women and homosexuals who were burned at the stake. Bronson meditated for them while laying out the mugwort that not only affects the ground but also the odor of his Garden of Earthly Delights forms.

The coat that Bronson wore during his shamanistic ritual, made of brown linen and fitted with a collar made of elk antlers, has remained as an exhibit in the exhibition. Presented on a fashion doll, it brings a touch of the glamorous catwalk world into the archaic, earthy atmosphere. Not unlike a red and white striped tent that reminds one of the staffage of medieval tournaments, but is also interpreted by the artist as an (oversized) ball gown.

The goldfish as the king of goblets

The same tent provides the most obvious connection to Hieronymus Boschs Garden of Earthly Delights that gives the title to Bronson's Salzburg Personale. Painted around 1500, Bosch's triptych shows a.o. a peaceful coexistence of animals and humans in which sexuality is stigmatized. This downright queer utopia - which occasionally caused controversy among art historians - Bronson takes up first when he unpretentiously mixes cultures, times and world views. The sledge hammer against the devil can hang here in the immediate vicinity of the Chinese vase in which two goldfish do their laps - under the ironic title borrowed from a tarot card King of Cups.

The latter installation was created in collaboration with Adrian Hermanides. Bronson's method is also delimiting in another respect: Most of the works are collaborations, for some he was just a curator. Gareth Long contributed about two posters, and Chrysanne Stathacos laid a lush floor mandala made of rose petals.

Mentor and medium

This establishes a connection to Bronson's show taking place at the same time in the Grazer Kunstverein Sacre du Printemps If he quotes a Japanese Zen garden in Salzburg that you simply walk around, in Graz you are sent into a "labyrinth" of art in which spirit, sex and shadow interpenetrate. Also worth seeing in Graz is a selection of 150 queer-subversive magazines that recall the artist's past.

The artist, born in Vancouver in 1946 as Michael Tims, first became famous in the late 1960s as part of the highly productive trio General Idea. the time-critical magazine File issued. When his partners died of AIDS in the 1990s, the spiritualism that had helped him through grief became his central topos. Bronson, who felt completely untalented to be a loner, declared himself a mentor and medium for younger artists.

Intimate relationship with Popsch

As chairman of queer séances, whose participants wore butt plugs with cock feathers, he specialized in a massage that relaxes the anus. This intimate relationship with Popsch, his postulate "the asshole is the revolution", is currently mainly reminiscent of the paintings in the cabinet of the Salzburg Art Association: For the series plaid Bronson and Keith Boadwee introduced bright colors into the intestines and then emptied them on canvases. The pictures are really ugly, but not because of the way they are made. (Roman Gerold, November 10, 2015)