ars Futura



Gods + Monsters
New works by Stefan Banz

Stefan Banz
"I built this garden for us", NR. 30, C-Print, 28X36 cm, 1997

Jesus and Dracula. They stand in the middle of the room, bloodless, white, covered only with a loin-cloth. Dracula seems to love Jesus. He looks at Jesus longingly, stretching out his hand towards him. Jesus on the other hand is self-conscious, searching eye-contact with the audience. His throat exposes the typical Dracula-bite, while Dracula is marked with Jesus' stigmata.

In his third one-person show at arsFutura Gallery, Stefan Banz continues the discourse with his main topics perception and misunderstanding: The juxtaposition of the universes of children and adults, the influence of voyeurism on perception or the question of content and its inevitable interpretative misunderstandings as well as the examination of content and context by way of recreating an original are Banz's means to measure the dimensions of reality.

Jesus and Dracula are two archetypes which have always tempted us to various interpretations of reality. Another figure in Banz's game of perception and misunderstanding is Francis Bacon, the last exponent of classical modernism, who is said to be singular in visualizing atrociousness, the archetypical, and at the same time brutish sensuality of the human race. In the age of samplings, coverversions, adaptations, replicas and duplicates, Banz has painted 51 Bacon-remakes, "Baby-Bacons" as he calls them, most of them not bigger than 21 x 16cm. Through the accuracy of the remake and, simultaneously, its drastic change of size, the paintings mutate to new works, condensed and intimate we have never seen them before. As with Banz's Dracula and Jesus, we experience a peculiar alienation and with it the need to reinterpret reality.

Alienation of reality takes place at last in an small dark room, where a video called "Lick (Doggy)" of the series A shot away some flowers of 1998/99 shows a liftle girl licking an iron-banister of a small Swiss maisonette like a dog. The imitation of the animal seems to give her an unusual and enticing correspondence to the world. Does she react spontaneously and uncompromised to the world of adult reasoning? Does she imitate a dogs examination of a foreign marking or is she trying to integrate the essence of the metal into her body? To answer these questions remains again in the eyes of the beholder.

In Stefan Banz's work, imagination is always a cause of the banal, the everyday occurence. Within these limits one never escapes the question: where does reality begin and where does it end.

Together with the show we are proud to present Ste fan Banz's new book I built this garden for Us, (86 double-page colour photos of the years 1992-1999, with a text by Christoph Doswald (editor), Patrick Frey edition, Zurich 1999, Hardback).

Ste fan Banz will have his first major one-person show in Switzerland in the Museum of Contemporary Art (Migros Museum), Zunch, in January 2000.


ars Futura