THE FLIGHT OF THE PICTURES Or: Antagonizing the Cormorants
Carl Aigner, 2009

"If the cormorant finds us, boy, then it will be serious."

Siegfried Lenz

Adam (or is it a self portrait of the artist?) is curiously crouching and reading a book whilst numerous other books fly over his head like a huge halo. This is the cosmic poetic narration about the espousal of picture and book, picture and narration of one print from the thirty-two printed works of the cycle ”Scaring off the Cormorants“: in other words the genesis of the world created by the narrative spirit of the pictures. And in another print a pregnant Eve leaves paradise with Adam, they head towards a house wall with a narrow opening which blocks their way out of the paradisal landscape rather than letting them out. This biblical image thus interlinks the double connotation of the title: Banishment and Sorrow

It was Sigmund Freud, who (almost parallel to the formulation of Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity) was the first one who managed to expound the fundamental meaning of the subconscious through the Interpretation of Dreams. Thereby, dreams are not simply blind pictures, but simultaneous fulfilment and repression. What is real and what is desired are interwoven in a subconscious working of dreams. In a fascinating way, Freud managed to make something apparently non-coherent, even contradictory, linked and bound. He also urgently demonstrated, however, that ultimately everything has a meaning and that all products of human nature are based and base themselves on deeper causes and realities. The artistic process as an espousal of consciousness and subconsciousness, of rational and irrational is symbolised simultaneously in the discovery of the dream as the ideal way to reach the subconscious as initially exploited by the surrealist artists. Freud found in principle, the access code to the ways of association, the key to deciphering the seemingly meaningless and insignificant narrations of dreams.

Allusions, metaphors, ciphers, symbols, characters and realities of day to day life: Martin Gredler unfolds an almost Baroque abundance of narrative visual moments whose vanishing point always lies in the figure of the cormorant. The apparently very contradictory and incoherent objectivities of the individual works indeed form numerous chains of thematic association: Nature, culture (in the form of urban architectonic elements), myths or banal daily objects, interweaving themselves in dense narratives which arise from real, concrete, daily experiences and incidents.

It is simply a question of autobiographical visual narrations and visions, which imply manifold espousals of subconscious and real, of imagined and experienced, of what is predetermined and desired. The cormorant functions in a certain way as a magnifying glass and a metaphor of these processes: In Darwin’s theory of evolution it plays a significant role in the genesis of species; as the best diving bird, it symbolises the subconscience, the invisible; threatened by extinction it is an apocalyptic allegory of the world and as a flying creature it is a dream image of the desire for freedom (Icharus as a humanised cormorant is also a guest in the series!) Martin Gredler is the pictorial mythologer and fabulator of the condition humaine, par excellence.

Mystification and straightforwardness synchronistically typify the process of creating the image. Thus, the etchings not only rest on the principle of inversion (as does every intaglio printing process) as a mirror image rendition; Gredler also uses the back of the plate as an equal graphic possibility, connecting therefore two seemingly opposite conditions of one picture i.e. the front and the back. The extension into colour is a poetic feature. The inversive, the counterpointed, Freudian dream work, is parallelised in the artistic procedure of the printing technique.

The basis for this is the drawing, which is not only the perfect depiction of the birth of the picture but also the process of the entity becoming the subject. For Gredler, this is the elixir of life and an indispensable necessity for his self–conception as a visual artist. For him, a picture of nature is never a copy but a varied allusion. Drawing is thus symbol and picture, sensory gesture and at the same time emphatic message. The narrative as a graphic fabulation is the amalgam of lines, strokes as engraving and gravitation of life and printing is always the gravimetry as a direct condition of hand and image, of existence and its traces.