Magazine article Artforum International

Michael Fliri: Galleria Raffaella Cortese

Magazine article Artforum International

Michael Fliri: Galleria Raffaella Cortese

Article excerpt

An American football player hurls himself against a wall of soft, colored Plasticine, which absorbs the impact--at which point he inevitably falls to the ground. The wall is indented by the blows of his helmet. The stadium is deserted. There is no game under way. The gesture is meaningless, the action futile, all the more so because it is repeated and always produces the same result.

Thus the content of the left-hand screen in Michael Fliri's three-channel video projection Getting Too Old to Die Young, 2008. Once this action was concluded, the video on the central screen began, and finally the last one, on the right. The three videos are not connected by a narrative thread but are variations on a theme. In the central video Fliri presents another, equally futile action: A young punk attempts to hook a makeshift anchor to a tree branch. The anchor is connected to a hand-cranked winch, which the young man ties to his waist and turns so that he raises his body up from the ground until it reaches the tree branch. The punk then rocks there, happily. All Fliri's videos are based on this kind of performance and last more or less the duration of the action. The artist himself is the actor or performer. Disguised and unrecognizable, he invents grotesque situations, worlds made up of images and characters he interprets, worlds out of a cartoon. Fliri is not interested in investigating the body. He is not challenging himself seriously--probing his ability to withstand pain or capacity for resistance. He carries out tests, assigning his characters tasks to complete, but these are as mild and innocuous as a child's prank. …

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