Julia Garimorth, 2000


The proposition of Margret Wibmer starts from the body. They are remarkable in their capacity to take account of the immediate givens of the body’s experience, given short shrift in anatomical representation. Through these immediate givens it is possible to perceive that every represented body into which being is to be injected is a body in situation. It is an object, in a situation of fragility, it is exposed: it is inscribed in real space. It has weight – which it uses or hangs with ( as in the sculptures Location and Fahrenheit). It undergoes tension. Under the duress of such an effort of reality, the works stretch downward, hang, and seem about to come apart.

One also realizes that the body (gazed upon) marshals affects by calling up projections and identifications. The body appears disarmed and fragile. It exposes itself in being exposed. The physical reality of the body refers to the treatment it can undergo. Thus, such a representation brings along in its stead the implementation of fan imaginary lived experience.

The body possesses an intimacy, its own secrets. It escapes closed, perfectly readable forms. Margret Wibmer shows us, through her efforts which can be called attempts to approach the body (with everything implied by way of necessary assumption), that such a representation could never convey the whole body (neither in a single nor in several strokes). Such a representation is partial in every one of its occurrences.

What is more, the body as object (or subject) of representation is not independent of the history of art, in particular the history of painting, therefore of hanging procedures (the final destiny of so many anatomical drawings). We are here in the presence, here of a joyful homecoming of hung bodies (once again) and their very “bodiness”, their resistance, fragility, weight, but also their unfathomable intimacy. The body as imaginary object returning to find the real body. Through the relation to the wall, the artist registers her former practice as a painter.

We would like to draw attention to the way in which Margret Wibmer, in order to produce sentient thought on the body, resorts to the connotations and suggestiveness of the material used, in this case rubber and terry toweling. The appearance of the rubber is reminiscent of skin, of a body-object whose only remnant is its outer tissue. The toweling is used to care for and adorn the body. In No aim, no gain it features an opening in the form of a collar. The practical, ordinary aspect evoked, calling up in the spectator his bodily lived experience, is thus a bolster to the representation. The color plays a part too. The red is laden with connotations. In the sculpture Deceptive Appearance, the toweling, in contrast to the emptied membrane to which it is attached, takes on the red like an inhabitation. “Contents is outside of form”, says Margret Wibmer in a general statement on her work.

Let us point out on the subject of the interactive installation Performance for no audience, presented here in the form of photographs (Anthropology of the Human Condition I and IV), how the represented body is replete with an infinity of potential, thus absent forms. In the original piece (not exhibited here) we are invited to discover the body by a totally arbitrary succession of profiles which in turn suggest many others in an endless succession. The camera shot angle, each time different, explores and intents the form of the body. The frozen shot angle refers to what cannot be frozen: the never-ending discovery of the body. This apparatus which, in displaying, forbids further view, recovers the germinal aspect of the body. In this case it is not yet sexually determined, and is faceless, but I creates itself by its outer covering – skin and contents at one and the same time – whose folds are promises of form.

Julia Garimorth wrote this text on the occasion of the exhibition ‘Incontro’ at Le Credac, contemporary art center, Ivry sur Seine, in 2000.