Karol Pichler (*1957)
Caelum, 1992

wall installation, 12 whips, 105 x 175 cm
acquired by purchasing from the author in 1995

Installations and objects of the author from the nineties present a┬áspecial approach to neo-conceptual art, defined by an effort for a┬ácertain de-aestheticization and a┬ástrict, minimized form. The second defining feature is the specific meta-language based on signs and symbols from philosophical, mystical, and religious teachings. These theoretical and purely intellectual backgrounds serve as a┬ábasis for the author’s effort to reinterpret the origin of our cultural traditions. Thus, his modified ready-mades from the early nineties are structured wholes, the decoding of which requires the knowledge of the relevant historical, cultural, and philosophical contexts.

An example of this approach is the work Caelum (Heaven), which features numerological value of the number twelve as a symbol of consecration. However, the installation also offers other connotations. On the one hand, the material and form (leather whips with nail-thorn tips) suggest flagellantism as a radical religious expression, and, on the other hand, connote sadomasochist practices of equally extreme but profane character.