The making of this video owes much to a long friendship and frequent visits
to the house of Robert Adrian X in Vienna's Wiedner Hauptstrasse which
began at the end of the '80s. There I spent many days (I should say: many
nights) in discussion with Bob, half awake, half drifting off, in that
state of mind you get with the passing of the hours and the pleasure of
following words and thoughts taking shape in front of you.
So in the video I wanted to work on basic materials, starting with Bob's
voice, which spoke of his work and the places he'd lived in. And that's
why I hit upon the idea of splitting up the video into three parts -without
breaking up its continuity - each of which would correspond to a particular
city: Vancouver, London and Vienna. In terms of the sound, his voice is
"counter-pointed" by background noises recorded in his Vienna
workshop, soundscapes I picked up in Vancouver and various electronic
For the visuals, I deGided to pare my fjeld of investigation right down
to the bare minimum and on I y work on the images that had been shot in
the house and Adrian's workshop, with some external shots being taken
through the windows of the same building. I didn't want myself or the
viewer to beGome distraGted by a flood of images or noise. I wanted to
Gapture the plaGe just as Bob would see it from an everyday perspeGtive:
witn tne radio a\wa)'s on, witn newspapers, coffee, computers, Gigarettes.
Nor did I want to put his works into the video, preferring instead to
show the look on his face, and reveal his point of view from his plaGe
Given a mind as sophisticated and pioneering as that of Robert Adrian
X -a mind interlaced with reflections on history, politics, art and strategies
for public space -I think it would be impossible to make an explanatory
video that even attempts to contain such a wealth of information. That's
why the video lingers on details, key statements, nuances of sound and
perceptions. Minimal elements that should be viewed as gateways to understanding
other, far greater complexities.
I think that you can see and feel a lotJ but as ever, itJs extremely important
to define white spaces, areas of emptiness which viewers/observers can
fill in at their own discretion.
I'm not sure to w hat extent all this can be considered a portrait of
Robert Adrian X, but in any case the end result was achieved with his
Roberto Paci Dalò
Vancouver, 25 October 2001
a film by Roberto Paci Dalò
editor: Natalie Cristiani
post-production Giardini Pensili Italy
sound partly created at the Western Front (Vancouver)
PAL, Colour, stereo
duration: 26 minutes
A Giardini Pensili Production
© 2001 Roberto Paci Dalò / Giardini Pensili (SIAE)
Thanks to Peter Courtemanche and Benni Atria
7 December, 2001 12 February 2002, Hall 2
"Collaging is a non-linear process. We build something new every day
without gaining anything new. Its a new way of thinking that we have
Robert Adrian X made this way of thinking his manner of
practicing art. The artist, born 1935 in Toronto, Canada, who has been living
in Vienna since 1972, reassembles the most diverse cultural symbols in his
work, articulating meanings between the lines
which he thus makes stand for themselves.
"Its all about this fuzzy territory between different media,
its about the vanishing of demarcating definitions. Quotes from
classical modernity, advertising, and media technology or arms-industry
artifacts are placed in new, often flowing-spatial contexts, with playful,
ambiguous, and sometimes also menacing effects.
The Kunsthalle Wien will be showing the artists first comprehensive
retrospective in Europe.
Robert Adrian Xs diverse work ranges from analytical painting in the
1970s, conceptual photography, small sculptures and model construction to
light and sound installations and telecommunications projects in the public
and media spheres.
Curator: Lucas Gehrmann