Ohne Titel   Austria   1983



The word 'performance' that the artist used for the first presentation to hallmark the recipient's mode of perception suggests that this piece can be compared to a musical composition. 'Performance', of course, also suggests a stage piece or film screening or a concert, i.e. a temporally and spatially constrained spectacle. Although here the use of abstract art historical terminology would appear more appropriate as Romana Scheffknecht has also selected the modernist 'Untitled' as its title even though much of her work uses specific titles of clear, even loaded significance: Das Meer, Das Wunder, 11. Mai, Das Konzert, Blaue Augen, Mutationen, Bundesverfassung (The Sea, The Miracle, 11th May, The Concert, Blue Eyes, Mutations, The Constitution). In this context Ohne Titel is clearly an exception.
The piece is no longer tied to any kind of image from the world, it neither alludes to social nor political or cultural codes. It does not define itself by means of an allegorical or symbolic statement (as in some of the earlier videos) either, but lies on an altogether different and elusive level, from which the viewer is made to drift into another 'reality'. The main impression is dominated by a series of abstract elements, by rhythm, light and a simple, sober formalist piano piece (by Ecke Bonk). The slats of Venetian blinds form dark vertical stripes that are interrupted by the regular rotation of a light source ? not visible in the video, an assembly of three lamps mounted on a revolving turntable. A hand appears at irregular intervals behind the blind, of which only a part can ever be seen as a fragment.
In brief: Just as in the earlier work of Romana Scheffknecht illustrations of the world were often extolled, the video Ohne Titel places the emphasis on the invention and establishment of new images, leading away from any sense of narrative. The abstract components used serve chiefly to generate a particular atmosphere, anticipating the ambient art of the 1990s. With this the medium of video has finally grown out of the nursery and no longer only plays on itself but also addresses other issues. The freestyle composition of images, in contrast, has rendered the flickering in Plato's cave a virtual one.

(Patricia Grzonka translated by Jonathan Quinn)


Aufführung - 1984

Galerie nächst St. Stephan, Wien, Austria


3min stereo color PAL

Technical protocol

Single Channel Video (from 4 Channel Video installation); Sony U-Matic 3/4 Inch (recording; master)

Superposition of several shots: a window shutter, a hand, a revolving arrangement of three mirrors, lightsource

Produced together with

Ecke Bonk (piano), Karl Kowanz


Büro Wien


Romana Scheffknecht

Copy to see

Niederösterreichisches Landesmuseum, St. Pölten