This month ikono presents a choice of films by Hans Schabus, an outstanding artist from Austria, who represented his home country at the 2005 Venice Biennale. Schabus works with spaces and their perception, transforming them to his own liking in a very precise way: He flooded a gallery, transported a bridge from Austria to Germany, and his seemingly pointless film journeys and mind-boggling tunneling works have received praise and attention from all over the world.
Born in Watschig/Kaernten in 1970, Hans Schabus studied under sculptor Bruno Gironcoli at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, where he is still living and working. His work has been exhibited in solo and group shows throughout Europe as well as in the USA, Mexiko and Sri Lanka. For his films he often works together with his brother, the filmmaker Robert Schabus.
Hans Schabus on ikonoTV
The films of Hans Schabus selected by ikono cover the artist’s highlights from 2000 until today, representing three of his main artistic aspects:
The artist’s sedulous effort and failure is addressed in Atelier (2010) and Echo (2009). In Atelier Hans Schabus works with his own studio space, which played a role in his earlier works already, restaging the finale of Sam Peckinpah’s western classic The Wild Bunch (1969). Echo is observing a man on the run through the mucky wetlands of the Danube. The protagonist keeps falling into the mud, but continues trying to escape from something or someone the viewer never gets to see.
Phantasmagoric journeys through the secret places of everyday life are the themes of Passagier (2000), Western (2002) and Astronaut (2003). For Passagier Schabus built an elaborate railway for a toy train with a camera being led through the hidden spaces behind the walls of the studio. In Western Schabus is rowing a sailing boat through the same dirty Viennese sewer seen in the film classic The Third Man (1949), while in Astronaut he is digging a shaft in the floor of his studio, filling up the room with soil before exploring the dark world he has created with his own hands.
Laßnitz (2012), with 78 minutes the longest of Schabus’ films to be on view on ikono, deals with the aesthetic transformation of a certain object by decontextualizing and displacing it. The original proposal simply read: »The work’s title is the name of the river, which was originally crossed by the railway bridge.«This abandoned bridge is sent on a 1000 miles long journey from Austria to the village Ohne in Germany, where Schabus declared it to be a sculpture from now on.