Portrait #4 [AA Bronson]





The new Portrait #4 is about the Canadian artist and curator AA Bronson, who enjoys cult status as cofounder of the artist collective General Idea. Bronson stands alone in an undefined space. Two cameras revolve around him. When one of them captures him from the front, the other is at his back. Like planets, they orbit Bronson at their center. One occasionally hears footsteps and the whirring of the cameras. The two sequences are projected onto two monumental screens positioned at angles in the exhibition space. The cameras’ different perspectives are understood in relation to each other; they converge and interlock. The central staging of a single figure without narration or scenic embedding is reminiscent of Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests. Welz consciously follows this tradition, while developing his own aesthetic and methodical approach. Unlike Warhol’s actors, however, AA Bronson is not limited to looking at the lone camera. Bronson stands calmly, as if in the eye of a hurricane, undeterred by the ceaseless, circular movements of the recording devices.






Portrait #4 [AA Bronson | double projection]
Installation view Falckenberg Collection, 2020 
Photo Peter Welz | Studio

 





Their perpetual cycle refers to the passage of time. Born in 1946, Bronson continues to be not only a keen observer but an active protagonist of the art scene. At an early age he began exploring alternative ways to live together and founded a community, a free school, and a newspaper of his own. In 1969 he joined forces with Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal to establish the artist collective General Idea. From the outset the queer collective challenged heteronormative conceptions of gender. They held beauty contests without genre boundaries, opened boutiques, or hosted talk shows. To this day General Idea is remembered above all for its fight against the rapidly spreading disease AIDS, which took the lives of Partz and Zontal in 1994. Since then Bronson has been active as a solo artist. He deals extensively with questions of queer identity, social mechanisms of exclusion, and spiritual practices. His own work as well as Welz’s portrait of this multifaceted artist speaks of the experience of old age but also the carefree nature of youth.






Portrait #4 [AA Bronson | double projection]
Installation view Galerie Crone, Vienna 2019
photo: Matthias Bildstein











Portrait #4 [AA Bronson | double projection]
back-projection screens 16:9, full HD, sound, metal poles
Installation view Galerie Crone, Vienna 2019
photo: Matthias Bildstein 

 






                           
                           






Architectural device for a Portait [AA Bronson]




Architectural device for Portrait #4 [AA Bronson]
corrugated cardboard, metal structure, cement, foto print, projection
Installation view Galerie Crone, Vienna 2019
photo: Matthias Bildstein


As is often the case in Welz’s artistic practice, this video work is complemented by sculptural and photographic studies. Upon entering the gallery one is confronted with a very different kind of portrait. An intuitively drawn line graces Bronson’s left forearm. It is a kind of non-tattoo that has nothing intentional, no deeper meaning. Welz’s photograph depicts this arm as a body fragment; placed on a pedestal, a floor plan emerges from which the line extends upward in the form of a curved wall. Like the two screens in the exhibition space, this wall becomes the surface of a projection that shows Bronson distorting the line with his right hand and thus manipulating it. While the body in the main video work remains intact as an entity, the artist himself becomes increasingly fragmented. Collages address a prismatic splitting of form, exploring the figure, its body, and its identity in analytical fashion.











Studies & Collages for a portrait





Collages for a portrait [AA Bronson | Tattoo]
archival print on cotton paper, 70cm x 100cm
Installation view Galerie Crone, Vienna 2019
photo: Matthias Bildstein




Study for a portrait [AA Bronson]
archival print on cotton paper, 70 cm x 100 cm
Installation view Galerie Crone, Vienna 2019
photo: Matthias Bildstein









Collage | portrait [AA Bronson]
archival c-print print on cotton paper, cut-out 
70 cm x 100 cm, 2019










Projection screens & cut-outs





Portrait #4 [AA Bronson | single projection | tripple screen]
Projection screens [240cm x 170cm each], full HD projection, sound
Casa degli Artisti, Milano  2020










Portrait #4 [AA Bronson | single projection | double screen]
Projection screens [240cm x 170cm each], full HD projection, sound
Berlin 2019
















Study for a portrait [AA Bronson]
c-print print on paper, tape, colour chart
50 cm x 65 cm, Berlin 2019















Billboard | Portait [AA Bronson]




Billboard | Portrait [AA Bronson | Tattoo]
Advertisement print
340 cm x 240 cm, Berlin 2018








The image shows the left arm of AA Bronson with his tattoo of an undefined curved line or drawing, among a classical Kodak colour plate as a reference of time and reality.
The tattoo has been an artist project of an intuitive drawing, for Bronson a shielding targe hacked in with a needle and ink along with the suppliant gesture of the hand conjunctively.

the image is to be spread at random across the city occurring out of the blue.











Billboard | Portrait [AA Bronson | Tattoo]
Installation view PS120, Berlin 2018























© Peter Welz 2018