ESSAYS Mousse 61
Thomas Demand on “Austriennale” by Hans Hollein
Hans Hollein, sunglasses made by moulding press for plastic materials, Austriennale, Austrian section at XIV Triennale di Milano, 1968. Courtesy: La Triennale di Milano – Archivio Fotografico. Photo: Erminio Bottura
Eighteen identical silver doors, each opening to a different story, as in a Franz Kafka novel (Kafka was Austrian). Once in, you are rewarded with a viewing device (see image), like an augmented reality for the analog man: a monstrous machine spits out cheap plastic spectacles that make you see the world through Austrian eyes: bottom and top red. You can’t fold them, so you must make a decision: take them or dump them. Both a statement. In this way the show also spilled the theme into the rest of the Triennale while making a statement about the concept of national representations, not unlike the accompanying catalogue, which showed a portrait of all “Österreicher” (their last name) living in “Österreich” (their country).