In the double exhibition If you like you can touch by Hannes Egger and David Meran at Periscope Salzburg, Hannes Egger guides the visitors to a direct experience of the encounter in the exhibition space by means of an audio performance that restarts every 15 minutes.
David Meran’s objects are integrated into the audio guide as real, physical objects. The space postulates itself between experience, art space and theater space.
A voice from the off speaks directly to the visitors. Who is the voice? Is it that of the artist? Probably not. Is it the voice of the space? Perhaps. Does the wall speak? Maybe, at least it is part of the installation. Or is it the voice of the universe?
Possibly … Maybe it is the objects of the exhibition themselves that speak when they call out: “Yes, you may! … Touch me! Touch me!”
What is clear is that the voice invites:
“Good afternoon, welcome to the exhibition If you like you can touch by Hannes Egger and David Meran.
First of all, I ask you to put on two latex gloves. You will find them on the small table by the entrance. Please do so, it is important!
You are here alone, yes? Nobody is in the showroom but you! It is your space, it is your time. Take your time. Let the art work on you!
Follow my instructions exactly!”
Set up, the audio performance is like a meditation instruction. The singular experience evokes moments of touch and distance, oscillating between the two. Above all, it questions the role of visitors. Is there an exhibition without visitors? From an epistemological perspective, does it exist without the presence or access of visitors?
without the visitors’ presence or involvement? And what is the position of the authors, i.e. the artists, in this relationship? Whose work is the installation? Who acts and who interacts?
In the course of the 15-minute piece, it becomes increasingly unclear whose work it is? Whether the closing sentence “Everything visible in the exhibition is the work of David Meran. The invisible is the work of Hannes Egger. It’s all archaeology, it’s all medicine.” is a clear indication, remains questionable. Is it not ultimately the hands of the visitors that leave their imprint? Is it not the images in the head that speak? Is it not perhaps the body of the audience, as a performative body, that is perceived from the outside through the window?
If you like you can touch