Lunch is for Wimps

Having recently seen the movie Margin Call, one of those investment-banking-gone-awry thrillers, I was more than in the mindset to submerge myself in Florian Auer’s “How to Spend It” exhibit at Kraupa-Tuskany. Alluding to both technological innovations and the not so laudable financial crises past and present, this exhibit shows the timelessness of our constructed business tools and processes.

When was the last time you left the office?

In 2008, on the cusp of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, a study was released stating that only 1 of every 6 workers takes a lunch break. In our increasingly fast-paced, capitalistic society working hours are open-ended and lunch breaks are becoming more and more uncommon (when was the last time you took a lunch break?). Inhabiting both rooms of the gallery, and really taking over the gallery itself, the exhibit effectively creates the feel of being in a neat office with all of the latest high-tech gadgets, including an aesthetically pleasing, but otherwise useless hand-crank sushi machine. Interestingly enough, this sushi machine plays a significant role in the 1987 movie Wall Street.

In addition to the sushi machine, the constructed artistic representations placed throughout the exhibit seem very futuristic, and yet it’s funny to realize just how ordinary and old school these objects are. Renowned Industrial designer Robert Sapper makes an appearance throughout the exhibit, whether through a model IBM Leap Frog screen from the 80s or a glass desk designed with a special back compartment to hide-away cables. I found myself constantly wondering about the mechanics behind each object or wanting to interact with them – it took some restraint not to try and crank the sushi machine!

Florian Auer, untitled, 2012
What a calculator! Florian Auer, untitled, 2012. Courtesy of Kraupa-Tuskany. Photo: Julie Anne Miranda-Brobeck 

The harmless calculator?

Another of these high-tech and nearly obsolete tools that Auer takes on and reconstructs is a basic Hewlett Packard calculator. I never thought a calculator could be so attention-grabbing, but the printed and airbrushed design on glass really pops out at you. The accentuations with shiny silvery and golden hues add an allure to an object I would otherwise most likely have overlooked. Auer makes frequent use of glass throughout the exhibit – glass not only being a wonderful medium to work with, but it’s also highly symbolic constantly reminding of the fragility of the business, market and technological tools that essentially run the world and dictate our lives.

The hand of the artist disappears in the exhibit; it’s easy to forget that you are looking at Auer’s representation and reconstruction of objects that are actually rather outdated. Auer effectively manipulates and accentuates these objects to make them interesting again – each has a story of its own ready to be told.

  •  Kraupa-Tuskany Florian Auer – “How to Spend It” April 7th – May 26th 2012. Thurs-Sat: 2pm-7:30pm