press release

opening: Wednesday, 20th January 2016, 6 pm
where: Atrium ÖBV, Grillparzerstraße 14, 1010 Vienna

laudation: Dr. Diethard Leopold
opening: Mag. Josef Trawöger, ÖBV
curated by: Jacqueline Chanton
music: Lizl Stein

Diethard Leopold: Between play and pervasion - a note on Marko Zink's photo series Swimmers

At first glance, Marko Zink's series "Swimmers" is an easy game, sometimes turning profoundly serious. In these games, polar opposites penetrate each other, what is incompatible becomes compatible. In these games, images begin to oscillate just like the invisible inner flows of water, the matter becomes ambivalent, and nobody knows whether one will surface, swim on or drown.

At first, one is enchanted by colourful ease. Everyday objects lie or seem to have been put at the bottom of the sea, drifting through the water, finding a temporary shape that is soon to change. Round pebbles have put on bathing caps, Chinese dressing gowns are flirtatiously dancing, silver-coloured high heels stand cheekily, that is to say neatly, lined up on the bright sand.

All this hints to a certain kind of absence, and the matter is getting out of hand. After all, doesn't one ask oneself, "Who wore these shoes?" "Where has this person gone?" "Did the shoes get lost or is it the person who will get lost?" Or one might ask oneself, "Who wore the dressing gown?", "Did it loosen itself on purpose?" Or was it ripped off the woman who had been wearing it, the fabric now innocently drifting, dancing the invisible dance of the waves while somewhere else perhaps - ? something completely different?

And yet the pleasant colours dominate, the smooth forms calm our rambling thoughts. One almost gets a holiday feeling, thereby forgetting how much work is put into such productions, how much preparation and preselection are required in order to make the individual photos so balanced, to render the completed series so harmonious.

For instance – giving just one of several examples – a Japanese parasol is floating into the picture, drifting from the upper margin into a shade of continuously darkening blue. We still remember the images of the March 2011 Tsunami. But even without this context, one might wonder what the purpose of a parasol under water is. In any case, it will no longer be able to shield and protect anyone, if that, what it was meant to protect us from, is now all around us, filling all nooks and intervening spaces. This reminds one of a Haiku by Basho, in which "fishes' eyes are filled with tears". What a beautiful, sad image, which, at the same time, is entirely impossible. And also this umbrella, reminiscent of a catastrophe, is a beautiful, contemplative picture, creating a moment of nostalgia, flowing in vain, drifting through the water completely devoid of meaning, destined to disappear into the darkness of the deepening blue, eventually to be entirely absorbed by it. Death and life, beauty and horror, are interwoven.

An instant of supernatural beauty is being evoked. This also is just one example: a delicate white fabric drifting through the water to assume the form of a grand splendid shell. This is the ephemeral nature of shapes, showing the transitoriness of existence. Marko Zink shows us that shapes are being created – even if the human sense of perception is either too slow or too fast. We grasp, and sense that the shapes of matter are not static, but flowing, floating, sometimes very slowly over long periods of time, like the evolution of species. Rigid shapes and flowing transience, insisting upon the "I" and the inevitable passing of time, sweeping away and changing everything, all these layers are metaphorically placed one upon the other, just like two translucent pictures forming one single theme: "No enlightenment without illusion, no illusion without enlightenment."