günther selichar

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Suchbilder/Find The Difference – Public Interventions 1992/93

5 installations in Upper Austria, Ink-jet print/acrylic foil, stretcher frame, iron construction, each 230 x 600 cm,
Festival of the Regions, Linz 1993 (A)

Photo: Christian Schepe, Linz
Video: The Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF) and Isabell Muhr, Linz, Austria 1993.

The audience was invited by five TV-spots to participate in the ”Find The Difference”-game and to compare the real landscape with its altered image next to it. Part of this interactive art project was a public quiz involving a prize competition. The viewers were invited to indicate the errors they found on the banners installed in a circle of about 400 kms in a participation card. The winners of various prizes were chosen from among the correct answers in a series of televised drawings.

Uli Bohnen
In medias res, descriptively (II): ...In several Austrian locations, large-format ink-jet prints were installed in places overlook-ing the corresponding “natural” panorama. Viewers are being asked to carefully compare the natural scene to its depiction in order to find built-in errors in the reproductions. It is not accidental that the title “Suchbilder” (literally: “Search Images”) reminds us of a simple leisure activity found in the entertainment section of some magazines, sometimes titled “Original and Forgery”. Frequently these images are two reproductions of a painting with, say, ten differing details. There have also been cases of two reproductions of photographs before and after a disastrous flood, printed side by side for the viewer’s entertaining comparison. This might demonstrate how a view of the whole can be sacrificed for a questionable concentration on details. At this point, that much can be said: Selichar does not blot our view of the whole but opens up an opportunity to recognize it as untrue, as a fictional nature in an overall fictional context...
In medias res, analytically: By placing his extremely enlarged ink-jet prints before landscapes in Upper Austria, Günther Selichar links them to the well-known “Find the ten errors” game, but in contrast to the familiar practice of comparison there are some potential irritations. The miniature format in magazine publications, as well as the fact that in the case of the magazine the “original” is another reproduction, contribute to the viewer’s tendency to concentrate on details without ever raising a question about the “whole”, the motif in reality – the question never even occurs.

Selichar’s installation works in a different way. Most people still regard nature as “one whole”. Perceived as an ambiente, an atmosphere, landscapes are not meticulously scrutinized, unless commercial motives are guiding the eye. However, if it does happen, due to Selichar’s intervention, the manner in which civilization (that is: culture) has combed through nature anywhere, might begin to register in the mind of some viewers.

From the beginning, the enthusiasm causing people to describe a landscape as “beautiful as a painting” was the dawning realization that there may be more truth in art than in nature, nature being laid open, exposed to man. However, what kind of art?
Selichar’s outdoor installation marks the transition from a nature alienated from us to a nature being alienated from itself – with our help. Under these conditions the nowadays often-quoted “identity of nature and man” is unmasked as the hopeless stammering of immediacy. This can neither be ignored by art nor by aesthetic theory....

From: Uli Bohnen, Between and Across the Media, Naturally!, in: Uli Bohnen, Christoph Doswald, Walter Seitter: Günther Selichar. Suchbilder (Salzburg/València, 1993|94).