Bernhard Buff’s sculptures revolve around the attempt to translate a dynamic gesture into a static object. They focus on the dynamic interplay between individual elements in the object – powerful forces, like gravity, the centrifugal force, or the inertia of mass, which act as agents within a space. Unlike in kinetic art, which incorporates motion in static objects, Bernhard Buff brings movement to a halt.
László Moholy-Nagy and Alfred Keménys wrote in their essay “Dynamic-Constructive System of Forces” (1922/1985) that movement is a metaphor for change and progress, stating: “We must therefore replace the static principle of classical art with the dynamic principle of universal life” as well as the “static material construction (material and form relations)” with the “dynamic construction (vital construction and force relations).”
Almost 100 years later, Bernhard Buff works to lend his sculptures a static appearance to counteract all centrifugal forces in today’s society – material and political. Like kinetic objects, they strive to achieve a balance between movement and stasis and represent both at the same time. Yet, inertia is their ultimate goal. In coming to a standstill, movement becomes the object of abstract comprehension: “When looking at these works, the mind tries to organize the different parts into a logical chain. This seems to lead to an understanding of the system that also makes us curious to find out what happens when the abstract is transferred into a real experience” (Bernhard Buff, 2016).
Bernhard Buff was born 1983 in Bonn and lives and works in Vienna. He studied at the Akademie der bildenden Künste (University of Fine Arts) in Vienna with Daniel Richter 2009–2014 and has been Richter’s teaching assistant since 2015. “Disziplinatores” is Buff’s second solo show in Vienna, following his exhibition at Ve.Sch in 2014. He has also participated in many group shows at galleries and alternative art spaces in Berlin, Frankfurt am Main, Aarhus, Prague, and Vienna.
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