Artist: heinrich müllner Tags: Permanent art


Peter Hagdahl

Email 08-440 12 99
A more than four-metre tall plinth, as though made to support a great man, a pompous king, a serious thinker or scientist, immortalised in marble or bronze.But what is this? A man leaping like a dancer, one foot barely touching the plinth. He is in a hurry: landing like a kite-flyer – or already on his way towards new, more urgent assignments and deliveries, as volatile as a weathervane. The glass sheet doubles as fragile cargo and wing. It is hardly a coincidence that this Flyer has landed in a place that was once a school for pilots and the courageous pioneers of the air. And how will it end? He keeps us in suspense; will the man (a portrait of the artist) succeed in balancing, or will he trip and fall like in a slapstick comedy? Perhaps this also portrays the adventurous conditions of the artistic process.Heinrich Müllner has always been interested in destabilising the apparent stiffness and immobility through twisting and warping and a predilection for the bizarre. This was evident even in his graduation show at the Royal Institute of Art in 1972, where he had processed not the plinths but the frames, in the fashion of Dalí’s melting clocks; the set frames that exalt and gild art, giving it authority as an institution. This mildly ironic approach, which perhaps stems from his Central European origins, is a sophisticated idiom that is also found in Musil, Hasek, or Bernhard. In his work as a professor at the Royal Institute of Art, Heinz Müllner himself, ironically, demonstrated a masterly treatment of durable materials and bronze, plastic and concrete casting.Flyer is a modern-day aviator, but with echoes of tradition and classical statues – like an Icarus, a fallen angel, or the divine messenger Hermes. And yet, so unlike the figures of Carl Milles: a man in overalls on his way – not towards glorious heavenly idealism, but to the more hands-on, practical tasks of this world.Peter Cornell