Leopold Himmelbauer

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Text in the Process-Documentation for T. A. 02995 - Commissioned work for the Bad Goisern Jodschwefelbad

There is a sentence found in the works of Carlos Castenada: “For me there is only one way forward, to walk along paths that have heart.  I walk along every path—perhaps this one is a path with heart. There go I, and the single worthwhile challenge is to walk its entire length.  And there I go, and look and look, breathless.”

The simplicity with which Casteneda describes his search for the source, the divine, is wholly sufficient to describe the work of Johannes Angerbauer.  Also, or better said, just because, an artist, a sculptor, is always on the search for Truth. 

Now Truth is indeed an immense word. It is true, for example, that gold is a noble metal. And yet gold does not stand for purity alone. Gold is likewise a synonym for power, for striving for possessions, for exploitation and oppression (one need only think on how much blood has flowed and still flows for the sake of gold).

One of the paths which Angerbauer has undertaken to tread is the demystification of gold. “Die Rückkehr des Goldes zur Erde” (The Return of Gold to Earth) was already a stride ahead some seven years ago. Whenever and wherever Angerbauer perpetrates his “Goldanschläge,” sets his “Transformatoren,” displays his “Minenfelder” and “Schwellen” (as he does in Jodschwefelbad Bad Goisern), it is always a reference to the most forgotten aspects in thinking about gold. The mythos of its nobility disappears when we stand and walk upon gold. As does gold leaf when it detaches itself from mines and sills and returning, disperses itself over the earth. A rewarding course to follow, for then Truth remains, reveals itself.

Art is a social process, a coming together, at least since the time of Joseph Beuys. That path which Johannes Angerbauer likewise walks along is the path of togetherness. He himself is not the artist, one who creates works of art; he is the catalyst who makes works of art possible. The true artists are the people who tread upon his minefields and threshholds and leave traces of themselves behind, who scratch the golden surfaces, who so concertedly search for truth, fashioning sculpture while doing so.  Isn’t the coming together, the unity and the communality the sole worthwhile and rewarding challenge for Mankind? Whoever faces up to the challenge to walk along that path where Art equals Heart observes breathlessly. To behold with bated breath is perhaps the most outstanding characteristic of every artist. Johannes Angerbauer does not plan the stations on his artistic road. Breathless, astonished, he finds them.

During a stay at the Jodschwefelbad Bad Goisern spa he discovered, for example, a composition formed of hooks and light sources which extended through all ten bathrooms. Twice five “fingerprints.” As a result Angerbauer achieved ten picture-images on whose threshholds he laid gold leaf. Images which locate Art, Time, human beings and their interrelationships in the places where they belong. The paths that 155 artists (their names are found in this “process-documentation”) have walked along are inspirational paths—together they created ten sculptures—and at the same time a symbol for humanity’s course, a sort of guidepost. Whoever wants to step into this remedial water (the Jodschwefelbad—iodized sulphur bath) figuratively removes his outer skin (one hangs his illnesses on the hooks), reaches for healing light (in the radiation rooms), and after the cleansing bath crosses the golden threshhold for the second time. So excitingly facile is the search for the Truth called Art.

By Leopold Himmelbauer, 1995

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