Wózki Geppa (2)

Gepp’s prams

When it was announced, at Satyrykon 2016 press conference, that Gerhard Gepp was the winner of Grand Prix, the local media described the winning drawing as “rather modest” revealing bits of their surprise that such an unimpressive cartoon had been awarded that highest prize. A moment later, most fierce (and most mechanical, let us add) “plagiarism hunter” reminded on Facebook Krzysztof Konopelski’s work awarded in Gabrow many years ago. Has shade of doubt crossed people’s minds? Well it might have, as Konopielski’s tank-pram indeed looks a bit familiar… Such is the reality that it often overcomes the “journalistic” tendencies of satirists.

Wózki Geppa
Krzysztof Konopelski, Gabrowo 1981, Gas resistant prams: Cold War, 1938

As for Gerhard Gepp, his thoughts seem to have been running their own trails in the last two or three decades. Has he copied anyone, quoted anybody, “talked” to anyone? Sure, mainly to himself. Such an old-fashioned pram appeared in his props room for the first time probably about the year 1993. He used it as a sort of metaphor of doubtful guideline in which the world is heading. Firstly, in its probably most grotesque form, it was finished in deadly colours bringing on viewers minds the space transmissions, underlining the fake “Baby TV” state enhanced in collage… The carton successfully imitates deserted land and calls up whole bunch of associations. From our natural environment destruction to replacing one declining medium (the print? paper?) with another one (TV?). Another version of the drawing appeared at Satyrykon in the same year (1993). The transformation was spectacular. The pram even more deformed, however, less resembling the mine cart. Three buttons instead of too obvious antenna. A much sweeter “baby” in its traditionally pink-blueish colours. The landscape in the background shows winter, implying the thoughts of loneliness, cold and melancholy, which could somehow be beaten by this precious little one? Or maybe it’s just illusion, so similar to so many ones carried by the colourful media… The title’s different, too – and titles, as we all know, matter for Gepp a lot. It’s not “Baby TV” now but just a “Kinderwagen”.

Wózki Geppa (2)
Gerhard Gepp, „Baby TV” 1993, „Kinderwagen” Satyrykon 1993, Closed, Satyrykon 2016

The very same pram a rebours appears now, after over twenty years. It is presented under most “pastel” heaven of all the painted ones. First glimpse – an idyll, you later may reflect whether it is the sunrise or the sunset… The pram itself: at first sight all its deformation seems to be eliminated. An aesthetic object in aesthetic space, no future and no past. The most characteristic is though that it does not resemble Gepp’s satirical cartoons filled that poetic series telling the story of human imperfection any more, but rather his nostalgic, surrealistic painting works. Have these two, separate so far, spheres of creation joined in one right here?

Is it more of a memento, or a Trojan horse rather…? The scope of associations escapes any “analogies”. The title narrows these efforts a bit, directing  viewer’s attention to these two uneven tiny boards. It is the only human trace in this unhuman harmony.


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