Martin Gostner

Galerie Christian Gögger

Martin Gostner is interested in Gletschereis (Glacial ice)—a hard crystalline candy sold in German-speaking countries—not for its tongue-tingling qualities, but for its form and material. Gletschereis is rectangular, slightly translucent, and light milky-beige in color. The candies serve Gostner as the building blocks of one of his works, in which he uses it to form larger blocks of varying sizes. He also takes raspberry candies to construct, according to their different shapes, individual balls and systems reminiscent of molecular models.

An essential consideration in his choice of candy as a material is its stickiness, for in contrast to other artists’ agglomerations, the individual elements in Gostner’s are not loosely piled together but firmly fixed in place. Using a candle flame, Gostner melts the surface of the candies so they adhere. The finished object is then coated in varnish and protected from insects by a pesticide. The artist evidently places value on the preservation of his works, in obvious contrast to artists in the Fluxus tradition, who emphasize the perishability of foodstuffs. Here, however, the subject of the art seems to be not transitoriness but timelessness.

In another work Gostner sews cotton together to form mountains. Their placement on the gallery walls suggests an oversized family of ducks sticking their gigantic tail feathers through the walls. These cotton cones have at one and the same time something witty and something irritating and alarming about them. Gostner succeeds in creating unusual constructions and situations using cheap, simple materials that produce remarkable syntheses of high and low culture, Pop and Minimal art.

––Justin Hoffmann

Translated from the German by Leslie Strickland.