Martin Gostner, Kupferpfandl – und darüber, Exhibition view, Secession 2001, Photo: Martin Gostner

Martin Gostner

Kupferpfandl – und darüber

January 31 – February 25, 2001

When time-travelers go into the past in science fiction films, they are usually warned not to intervene in events there: the slightest change could result in the present being no longer there, so that return would become impossible. Actually, though, the present proves itself relatively resistant to manipulations; it could be the result of various different pasts.

Based on ideas of this kind, Martin Gostner has assigned a second institution to the Viennese address Friedrichstraße 12: it is no longer only the Secession that is located there, but also an imaginary pub or cafe, the “Gasthaus Kupferpfandl”, which has been there for decades. Its program of events, advertised on posters throughout the city, reflects and follows the history of the Second Republic. When the V.d.U. (Verband der Unabhängigen – League of Independents) was recognized by the Allied Council, an invitation was issued to come to the Kupferpfandl for a “reflective meeting”; while Konrad Lorenz was accepting the Nobel prize for medicine in Stockholm in 1973, a pet show was taking place here; and contemporaneous with the glycol scandal in 1985, the pub was advertising “A large glass of wine for Burgenland!” And the guests here are just as average as the tavern itself: Gostner’s video projected in the Secession cafe shows them entering a flat above the bar almost by chance, first looking around curiously, then poking around and finally tearing up the room. After the destruction, the popular radio station Ö3 disseminates joviality undisrupted.


Martin Gostner, born in 1957, lives and works in Innsbruck.