Fascinated by Pop culture and the mechanisms of contemporary consumerism, Tratlehner creates installations that ironically comment on our vices, while exposing us as victims of a system at the same time.
In his installation ‘The Suiting Sound of Forever Luxury’ empty boxes of luxury shoes are filled with fake diamonds and attached to mehcanical arms of steel, which then move at the same rithm causing the diamonds to roll and to recreate the sound of the sea. The odd associacion between the suiting, calming sound of waves and the artificiality of its source creates an absurd feeling in the viewer, who finds him-herself amused by this nature-culture contrast.
It is even more interesting to think that the serenity of senses and the calming effect of the work is delivered by a symbolically perfect machine of consumption. The long reseach towards the right material is pivotal to the works, its quality strictly connected wit hits symbolic value: Fascination intertwines with the ridiculous, in the attempt of investigating the peace of senses that advertisement strives to recreate.
The world of the sacred comes back in the second series of works exhibited here, circular compositions of plexiglass and basalt stone, where the plexiglas serves as a shop window material depicting fragments of luxtury watches.
The titles of the pieces are all inspired by quotes from the Buddha, their status elevated to the one of contemporary icons, hypnotizing halos of the invisible.
The interesting aspect to the work by Tratlehner is that, contrary to the most critical approaches to contemporary society, there is a softness to it, a funny, tender understanding of the consumer-viewer. The implication that we search for spirituality in the wrong places is nuanced by the aknowledgment that the advertising world exploits this need to appeal to the masses, emphatizing how compreendsible it is that we fall in those traps. The sardonic tone of the works is therefor not accusatory, but ironically simpathetic, and points towards the absurdity of the lives of us all.
Neo-Reinasance man Freddy’ Tratlehner (Amsterdam, 1983) Graduated at the Rietveld Academy in 2007. Trattlehener si a musician ( aka Vjeze Fur from the Dutch Hit-band De Jeugd van Tegenwoordig) chef (Lekker Fred) and a fashion designer (Tratlehner / Dure Merk), but his all around definition is in fact the one of the artist, who, as he quotes: ‘’when he has a project in mind he wants to carry out, he just does. A true millennial, haha’’.
Tratlehner works with a broad range of media, from drawing, to video, to performance and installations.
His work has been exhibited at Gabriel Rolt, Down the Rabbit Hole’, Sign Groningen.
-Text by Sara van Bussel