The Austrian artist-group Gelatin (Ali Janka 1971, Wolfgang Gantner 1970, Florian Reither 1968, Tobias Urban 1966) belong to the shooting stars of the international art scene. Their work, a mixture of performance, installation and event has illicited wide press attention while allowing them to toy with the status of pop stars.
In 1998 for their show at P.S.1 in New York Gelatin created „Percutaneous Delight“, an outdoor environment whose diverse units triggered in the urban revellers sensations of heat, sweat, cold, wettness and dryness. Their „Human Elevator“ in the Schindlerhouse in L.A. consisted of 13 strong men placed on a scaffolding who lifted visitors onto the building’s roof within seconds. „Hugbox“, made for the Liverpool Biennial squeezed and hugged visitors inbetween matresses. For their performance „Pollo Feliz“ for the Wiener Festwochen 1999 Gelatin transformed themselves into giant pink chickens.
Their last big project is „Welwunder“ („The Wonder of the World“), which was commissioned by Kasper König and Wilfried Dickhoff for „In Between“, the art project of EXPO 2000. This wonder of the world is a somewhat resistent one which does not function according to the rules of the sensationalist spectacle of the world fair. It can be experienced only by those who dive into the small pool and through the 3.5 meter-long channel. The visitors who are courageous enough are not allowed to speak about what they have seen, nor is photography allowed inside. „The Wonder of the World“ becomes a myth instantaneously.
For their exhibition at the gallery Gelatin have constructed Buttik Transportør, a Merzbau-like „boutique“ on three floors which is to be reached via three elevators. Following their adventurous journey, the uplifted visitors can indulge in a buying frenzy. The products on offer – CD-ROMs, models, stuffed animals and dashing swim wear – constitute a kind of mini-retrospective of the aritsts‘ work. There is also a carpeted chill-out room, where one can watch various videos by Gelatin while cuddling a gargantuan knitted rabbit. A selection of catalogues is available for those who want to know more about the charismatic boys.