Plush, a child-friendly sculpting material, is one of Gelitin’s signature lexicons. While the plush toys are often associated with children’s innocence and naiveté, Gelitin explores the dark fantasies hidden inside a seemingly harmless object by distorting its figure into something monstrous and uncanny. These toys also touch upon the destructive nature of infantile creative impulse; children’s disregard for and oblivion to socially expected conduct often result in an inhibited behavior, which Gelitin encourages. The clash between children’s raw, primitive impulse and a highbrow concept that is “art” transpires into an unruly yet fascinating sight.
Getlitin is comprised of Wolfgang Gantner, Ali Janka, Florian Reither, and Tobias Urban. The four artists met in 1978 at a summer camp, where they began to collaborate. Gelitin, however, only officially formed and began exhibiting as a collective in 1993. Their projects make use of a variety of mediums, including performance, installation, sculpture, and new media. These are united in their purpose to question the traditional relationship between an artwork and its spectators or context. Many of the group’s works invite audience members to participate in creating, or sometimes destroying, the work. Gelitin tellingly and aptly called its 2005 project “Sweatwat” at Gagosian Gallery a “humongous implosion, sucking you into deep and profound chaos, instability, joy and pure wonder. It offers visitors a chance to relax, paddle and freak out.”
Austrian, Established 1993, based in Vienna, Austria