Contribution for the show "projections" at Gallery David Pestorius , further contributions by Fanni Niemi-Junkola, Ian Anüll, Anna Brag, Gail Hastings and Monika Brandmeier; Edition of two 2 Cardboard boxes, 75 x 40 x 40cm and 112 x 122cm, Edition of 3, plus 1 E.A., comes with signed certificate
for art's sake - promises the handwriting that is displayed like a seal of quality on the multi-part work "projection" (1999) . Yes, what doesn't one do for the sake of art? To acquaint the viewer with the semiotic system of art, Fritz Balthausunfolds not only his thoughts, but also a place-saving collapsible carton from the inventory of a respected international art transport company. In conscious reference to Marcel Duchamp's ironic gesture of the ready-made, he affixes the industrially produced brown cube at eye level to the wall of a white cube, whether it be his own studio or an exhibition space suitably purified for art. What had been constructed as a protective container for forwarding sensitive works of art is now - is relieved of its original funktion, freed from any and all burdens, and turned into an aesthetic object.
As easy as it is to comprehend the transformation process and to grasp the banal object in its mere facticity, so difficult is it to determine the ontological status of this artefact. for although Fritz Balthaus did not even touch the material substance of the thing at hand, the contexual shift makes it a matter - as Ludwig Wittgenstein would have said - of the object plus x. It is the mysterious unknown, without which the artists',critics', and curators' equations would never work out - this this glimmering variable that seemingly effortlessly is abel to adjust itself to each social, historical, and ideological change - this place-holder borrowed from language that demarcates the invisible boundary between art and non-art, that Fritz Balthaus is persistently tracking. "An artwork that asserts itself as artwork as distinct from all else, thus first excludes all else and divides the world into itself and the remaining leftover unmarked space", stated sociologist Niklas Luhmann in: Die Kunst der Gesellschaft, Frankfurt am Main 1995, p.61.
But what means are at artists' disposal to keep that which isn't art out of their work? And what do the signs look like that signal art viewers that they are venturing onto terrain that will make specific demands on their perception and thinking? Fritz Balthaus has developed an extremely relaiable sensorium for those discriminating featuresthat, usually without getting special attention, separate art from unmarked space. As if it were necessary to direct the attention to a secret code that only the initiated can decipher, he is always testing new methods that will allow conventionalised forms of presentation and the unspoken rules of dealing with art to become manifest in all their aesthetic dimensions.
in: QUOBO, Kunst in Berlin 1989-1999