Philipp Timischl

»Philipp, I have the feeling I‘m incredibly good looking, but have nothing to say«


21er Raum at 21er Haus, Vienna

August 28 — September 29, 2013


“Philipp, I have the feeling I’m incredibly good looking, but have nothing to say,” the exhibition confesses. It presents itself as being superficially beautiful and incidental. At first glance the viewer is faced with a very impersonal scene. Flat screens are arranged in the gallery space, all showing the same video at the same time. The display in this exhibition appears as generic as a shop of electrical gadgets with their row upon row of simultaneous screens, a subject Philipp Timischl has already tackled in earlier works. At the exhibition No interest, no aim, beyond nothing, shown in Frankfurt in 2010, he explored notions of the universally valid and interchangeable, also through the medium of video. The work comprised establishing shots: city panoramas, slow-motion scenes of nature or helicopters flying over skyscrapers that are usually used to provide spatial context in a cinematic narrative. As such shots are the most expensive and time-consuming to produce, stock footage is used in many cases. Timischl isolated shots from the reality show The Real L Word until all that remained was a storyless, interchangeable, hypnotic collage of clips. 

The video on the screens in this exhibition now tries to conjure up a similar atmosphere using comparable methods, such as shaky shots of landscapes, blurred details or exaggerated jump cuts. Here, however, it is anything but anonymous. 

In fifteen minutes and using rapid cuts it tells the story of a vacation. A plane takes off, flies through the clouds and lands. Timischl goes by bus and meets his injured holiday romance again in front of a hospital. A bus and train journey later: View from a terrace. Legs are dangling in the air. Timischl drives to the beach with his friends. They swim and dive. Over dinner they talk about the video and filming. Later the camera is trained on the artist; he feels awkward and says nothing. A friend reads about the history of the village church. In the car, traffic jam and again the beach. These are followed by shots of the harbor and dinner. A conversation on the beach, a nocturnal walk, a town fair. 

This highly atmospheric video is shown simultaneously on the flat screens while stills displaying individual frames from the video have been attached to these using wall mounts. When you watch the video, the sculptures’ images double for the duration of one frame, each time highlighting a specific aspect in the narrative. This deliberately draws the focus of the viewer deeper into what underlies these superficial holiday impressions. 

One of these aspects is the relationship between work and life. In the daily professional life of an artist, a role model for contemporary concepts of work and life, these boundaries are not only blurred but seem utterly intermeshed and interchangeable. Even a vacation signifies both rest and activity to the point where in this case it is subsequently transformed into art. 

Presenting this in an exhibition space also blurs the boundaries between private and public. Nowadays we often set out to document and present personal moments with an assumed, sometimes anonymous audience in mind. Timischl exalts these moments and compiles them into an allegedly authentic mini-documentary. This privacy creates closeness, yet this is ruptured by the protagonists’ awareness of the power of these freely circulating images and the consequent representative nature of their actions. Sometimes this creates the impression of a scripted reality, a mock documentary that follows a script. It seems as if something extraordinary, some anomaly could appear at any moment; as if the everyday on vacation is in fact a fiction. In spite of this, the images are as interchangeable as the mass-produced screens showing them. They are like an advertisement attempting to convey intimacy and credibility with these emotional, shaky shots. 

In the exhibition’s title, the artist distances himself from the previously cited models. It is the exhibition itself that becomes an autonomous person – worried about not being good enough, having nothing more to offer or to say. 


Philipp Timischl, born in 1989, lives and works in Vienna. In 2012 he founded the exhibition space HHDM (Hinter Haus des Meeres) together with Daphne Ahlers and Roland M. Gaberz. His works were recently included in exhibitions at Perfect Present, Copenhagen (2013), Galerie Emanuel Layr, Vienna (2013), Studio Lenikus, Vienna (2013), Kunstraum Lakeside, Klagenfurt (2013), ONO Gallery, Oslo (2012), COCO, Vienna (2012), and 68squaremeters, Copen­hagen (2011).


Exhibition catalogue:
21er Raum 2012 – 2016
Edited by Agnes Husslein-Arco and Severin Dünser
Including texts by Severin Dünser, Simon Dybbroe Møller, Paul Feigelfeld, Agnes Husslein-Arco, Lili Reynaud-Dewar and Luisa Ziaja on exhibitions by Anna-Sophie Berger, Andy Boot, Vittorio Brodmann, Andy Coolquitt, Simon Dybbroe Møller, Iman Issa, Barbara Kapusta, Susanne Kriemann, Adriana Lara, Till Megerle, Adrien Missika, Noële Ody, Sarah Ortmeyer, Mathias Pöschl, Rosa Rendl, Lili Reynaud-Dewar, Anja Ronacher, Constanze Schweiger, Zin Taylor, Philipp Timischl, Rita Vitorelli and Salvatore Viviano
Graphic design by Atelier Liska Wesle, Vienna/Berlin
Softcover, 21 × 29,7 cm, 272 pages, numerous illustrations in color
Belvedere, Vienna, 2016
ISBN 978-3-903114-18-0