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As is so often the case in Roman Ondak’s art, this work starts with everyday behaviors, small events, and barely visible deviations that, for the most part, go entirely unnoticed. Resistance is a performance concept originated by Ondak for the opening of the exhibition Kontakt … works from the Collection of Erste Bank Group at Vienna’s mumok / Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien (2006). For this performance, a small group of individuals was asked to visit a public event (the exhibition’s opening) and mix with the crowd. These people were to all have one thing in common: untied shoelaces. Ondak’s intent, in keeping with his concept, was not to draw attention to these people, but much rather to create a situation where it would remain unclear whether this was an indication of the shoes’ wearers’ negligence, or could perhaps be interpreted as a subtly divergent dress code intended to convey a certain youthful hipness. And in precisely this quite minimal difference, Ondak succeeds in calling to mind existentially relevant questions: Are the wearers young? Do they want to seem young? Do they perhaps feel younger than they really are, thus unintentionally opening themselves up to ridicule? Or are they possibly just negligent, sloppy? Might they perhaps worry about failing to even notice this “failing?” And is it pure coincidence when, suddenly, three people end up standing alongside each other, all of them with untied shoes? It is only at first glance that the “resistance” evoked here by Ondak seems innocuous; in actual fact, it can tell us a lot about our own self-perception and about our projective perception of the Other.

S.E.

  • Artist: Roman Ondák
  • Original Title: Resistance
  • Year: 2006
  • Material: 6 Polaroids
  • Dimensions: Original Size: 10 x 10 cm (3 15/16 x 3 15/16 in.)
  • Inventory no.: K476
  • Category: photography
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