Friedl x www

Heribert Friedl

Artistic intervention
at the Kunsthistorisches Museum

open from 01 April to 01 Nov. 2023

Since 2003, the Museum of Art History a space for artistic intervention. A space of resonant relationships, of dialogue: the sacred with the profane, the past with the present. Transformations and processes. This space was designed by Heribert Friedl in 2022!

The artists and artists invited to date have always surprised us anew - with their incredibly multi-layered and complex artistic solutions in their references to Admont Abbey as a place of spirituality, as a place of such diverse collections; to the library, the archives and the almost 950-year-old cultural memory. This room was designed by Heribert Friedl in 2022. The installation consists of neatly presented items of clothing in the form of an archive, which were worn by a very specific loved one. At first, you might be irritated to come across something so banal in the context of the Kunsthistorisches Museum. What is this? A brief look back at Friedl's artistic development provides a key to understanding it. Fragrances and their effects have long been at the centre of Heribert Friedl's interests. Large parts of his work consist of site-specific installations or ephemeral architectures that deal with the term "non-visualobjects" (a term he has used for his work since 1996). In these, fragrances act as content carriers. Friedl has also followed this path in earlier years at Admont Abbey.

In 2007, during the multi-year restoration phase of the Admont Abbey Library, he coated a white support panel on the scaffolding with an invisible fragrance. The scent of incense was released through active rubbing. As in many of his installations, Heribert Friedl was not concerned with the visual specification. Part of the work also included scented cards relating to the baroque monastery library. A piece of the original was also taken along with the card. As part of an exhibition on the theme of "Library" in 2008, Heribert Friedl created a fragrance library consisting of 100 fragrances in the Museum of Contemporary Art - an archive of fragrances, if you like. In 2012, for the Admont special collection "Beyond sight - art connects blind and sighted people" has created a work: A visible scent spiral made of perforated copper tubing, from which a bellows emit an odour that spreads through the room as an invisible ephemeral sculpture.

Friedl x www
Heribert Friedl
*1969 in Feldbach / Styria
lives and works in Vienna

Portrait of a favourite person
in the world and beyond.

Various items of clothing, shoes, ties,
Socks, among others, installation, 2022

In Heribert Friedl's art, which concentrates on olfactory perception, visual moments are omitted as far as possible. The current installation is therefore not about the flat perception of the clothing itself. It is about the person who once wore it. It is about a loved one who is no longer with us physically after their death. It is about what is left of this person. It is about absence, about memories - triggered by fragrances, among other things - that have inscribed themselves into these items of clothing. It is about what we individually "sense" into objects, into works of art - each one differently, depending on the individual. It's about the invisible microparticles that have passed into them. They are invisible to the human eye, but for forensic scientists they are a cosmos par excellence. It is about love, about mourning, about letting go, about "vanitas" and "memento mori". Ultimately, it is about consolation, about hope, about the fact that there is not nothing just because you cannot see it. And about the fact that what is visible often obscures what is really important, what is actually worth perceiving.

Heribert Friedl also speaks of the scent of time that has found expression in these things. And against the backdrop of his dialogue with the Korean-German philosopher, cultural scientist and author Byung-Chul Han, he says: "The history that things acquire through long use animates them to become 'things of the heart'. Not only the immediate visual impression, which perhaps reflects a certain time, but also the invisible things that can be felt, create a "cosmos of the heart".

The reference to the museum is more on the structural side. The museum as an archive, as a "saviour from disappearance". Of course, references can also be made to the paraments.

"You can only see well with your heart.
The essentials are invisible
for the eyes."

(Antoine de Saint-Exupéry)