In July 2007 Klanggalerie, an exceptional Austrian art label with international scope, released the CD »GRAF+ZYX : TRUST NO WOMAN plus«. It contains 24 tracks, among them almost all of the tracks from the legendary album »TRUST NO WOMAN« which had been released in 1981 by the Austrian label RCA Musica in cooperation with Edition Reitz, and which has been out of stock for years, plus a number of partly unreleased GRAF+ZYX productions composed before and after 1981.
Lyrics, graphical material and the video clip »Hey You«, which was produced in 2005 using original film- and video material of the years 1977 to 1981, are available at http://trustnowoman.grafzyx.at.
GRAF+ZYX productions have always been an impertinence towards recipients, be they journalists, art historians, or ›the public‹.
Markus Brüderlin, one of the first critics who repeatedly dealt with works of G+Z by way of an integrative, art-theoretical analysis in 1983, despite his respect for the intentions of G+Z [›A productive potential, which undermines the »psychosomatics of the zeitgeist« (from Sloterdijk’s clever combinatorial laboratory of terms and concepts)…‹ ] describes the film-video-dance-audiotape performance ‘Wien-Tokyo-Wien’ (Vienna-Tokyo-Vienna), a transmedial contribution to Wolfgang Kos’ and Edek Bartz’ ‘Töne Gegentöne’ [*] in ‘Kunstforum International’, as »no less than physically close to the perceptive threshold of pain« [mb]. Michael Hopp however, at the time chief editor of the zeitgeist magazine ‘Wiener’, despaired after an interview, trying to pen a text on the Wiener re-election of GRAF+ZYX as shooting stars of the year, and requested the help of Franz Manola, the freewheeling and powerfully eloquent cultural visionary, who is known to be familiar with their rebellious works.
Rare exceptions such as Brüderlin, Manola, or Gottfried Distl, who easy-handed and with virtuosity links G+Z to Erik Satie and Frank Zappa, and actually presents an argument for doing this [gd], only confirm the ordinary helplessness of press and theory. It therefore happens that narrow-minded music journalists declare the works of G+Z to be outside their province, and – breathing a sigh of relief after this decision – declare it to be a matter of the fine arts. However, art journalists (no more ›wide-minded‹) mistake – if benevolently – the very same work (in this case an austere multidisciplinary space construction ‘Grauer Raumtransmitter’ (Grey Space Transmitter), which for the first time presents formalised pop music as a coequal creative feature of a museum exhibit) as a discotheque club room [**]. Others – slightly startled by their own courage to coolly objectify the style of G+Z – follow their obsessive compulsion to pigeonhole everything by turning anxiously to the concept of design – without specifying it of course.
THE STYLE, THE CONTENT, THE LUST
The transition from defined language to language reminiscent onomatopoeia is gradual as much as a text designed to convey content spontaneously turns into improvised empty shells of words when singing them: In fact, the remains of these allegedly sensible sentence fragments are in truth intended as formal aesthetic phrases, consequently refusing any kind of interpretable message.
The same goes for stylistic/formal implementations: What sounds like reggae in the bass line, may possibly irritate quickly with harmonies and rhythms evoking ambient music, jazz or serious music. The smart ones rejoice, the stupid ones are frustrated.
Yet even passages with coherent content are not easy-going: Someone, who, in the 1970s and 80s, the times of existential analysis, gestalt psychology and group seminars, describes the quality of falling in love as ‘the smell of my brain gets black and mawkish’ and ventures to say ‘I don’t need you in the morning again’, or ‘I use you and I look away’, knowingly puts up with being accused of disturbing cynicism. Just choosing the title ‘Trust no Woman’ and formulating phrases like ‘muggy goose getting dressed well’ during the heyday of female emancipation discussion suggests, at a glance, at least a propensity for social suicide.
In fact, all this still originates from the possibly most essential intention, which – beside „uneasy desire“ and the “lust for the unpalatable” – permeates the oeuvre of GRAF+ZYX up to this day: It is the desire for producing new ideas by stripping down traditional or just recently phrased dogmas, gormless in form and content.
This kind of working freely in a parallel universe with aggressively sparse synapses with an uncreative set of ideas of a predominantly and unfortunately cross-generational encrusted art- and media theory, which just barely managed the integration of avant-garde applied art or photography, encourages someone to follow the especially likeable kind of escape from their inability to interpret given by the city magazine ‘Falter’; simply issuing openly a ›strong buy recommendation‹.
© flo-0707 [translated by Simone van der Geest]
[*] Töne Gegentöne, Wiener Secession, Vienna 1983 [mb] Markus Brüderlin: Synthetische Sinnlichkeit aus Zelluloid und Fluoreszenz. Ein Beitrag von GRAF+ZYX zum digital kodierten Kosmosparadies von morgen. In: Kunstforum International, Cologne 1983 [gd] Gottfried Distl: GRAF+ZYX . In: ÖH Express Tempo, Vienna 1985 [**] Der Traum vom Raum, Museum des zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts, Vienna 1984 [ed] Edith Decker: GRAF+ZYX . In: Wulf Herzogenrath und Edith Decker (Hrsg.): Video-Skulptur. retrospektiv und aktuell, 1963-1989, DuMont, Cologne 1989