Rigor Mortis

Benedikt Gahl &
Veit Kowald &

Rigor Mortis, the rigidity of death – this ironical self-diagnosis of Gahl & Kowald describes the condition in which a young generation of artists might perceive itself. This gloomy and amusing animated video is inhabited by amorphous creatures made of modeling clay. Its main protagonist runs through various milestones of post-war art in a feat of concentrated effort performed upon its own constantly changing plasticine body: this being, whose form otherwise tends to be of rather organic and undifferentiated nature, must discipline itself into sculptures of Moore, Judd, LeWitt and others, while watching the efforts of a fellow-sufferer on television. This counterpart drags its cross to Golgotha. After having hoisted itself onto the cross, it stiffens as Kippenberger's sculpturally posed question for the 'Difference between Casanova and Jesus'. Through such repetition, Kippenberger's iconoclastic gesture transforms from a dead end into a model. It changes from the rigidity of death into a breeding-ground. The artist's chameleon-like capacity for stylistic transformation seems to have become a life-principle for the plasticine beings. Rigor Mortis presents a humorous run-through of the art-historical canon, to which it seems to be posing the perennial question about the 'chicken and the egg'. (Dorothee Brill)

About the video

Title Rigor Mortis
Year 2004
Videonale VIDEONALE.10
Length 00:04:35
Format 4:3
Country Germany,
Language No dialog
Courtesy the artists
Specifications color, sound, single-channel video

About the artists

Benedikt Gahl
  • 1977 in München, GER.
    Studied at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste München, GER
Veit Kowald
  • 1978 in München, GER.
    Studied at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste München, GER