Nicole Six & Paul Petritsch

RÄUMLICHE MASSNAHME

Nicole Six & Paul Petritsch, Räumliche Maßnahme (1), 2002

In the middle of the picture a darkly clad figure stands on the frozen surface of the ice. Armed with an ice pick, the figure is seen striking the frozen ground. It is the motif with which the video Räumliche Massnahme (1) [Spatial Intervention] (2002) begins, and the one with which it will also end. For a whole 28 minutes, the lonely figure continues relentlessly performing this senseless and incongruous act. As the horizon dissolves in diffuse light, the spatial situation remains vague. At first, the scene appears enigmatic, even absurd; ultimately, it becomes unbearable. Here someone is carrying out a ‘spatial intervention’, apparently searching for the only way out of this nothingness that extends in every direction. It takes a certain amount of perseverance, and effort, to carry on watching this repetitive sequence of movements – the raising of the arm, the striking of the ground – as indeed does the activity itself. For all the monotony, the mood is by no means meditative; if anything, the tension only grows. When the video image finally ends, leaving a black screen behind, we hear a cracking sound, and a scream. These sounds leave us in no doubt whatsoever that the ice has just cracked and the figure has plunged into the freezing cold water below. The downward escape of the ‘spatial intervention’ has proved to be its undoing, and its demise.

Nicole Six, born 1971, and Paul Petritsch, born 1968, live in Vienna, Austria.

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