Art group G.R.A.M.  formed in 1987 by four Austrian artists Günther Holler – Schuster, Ronald Walter, Armin Ranner and Martin Behr.

The group operates in a fairly wide range of media (photography, video, film, performance, painting), their method of work unites these media. They simulate „paparazzi” practices, reporters or slapstick film protagonists. They are interested in what is offered by mass media, popular culture, and artistic performances which provoked resistance and indignation in Austrian society (Vienna Actionism). The authors take possession of the images through reconstructing them as if experiencing again specific historical facts or situations (performative photography). Notoriously known images are retold, rewritten, and as many critics mentioned, these newly constructed scenes are more comprehensive than the original itself. They replace popular figures from the world of politics, sports and showbiz. All the more, in their own way, they make the nature and meaning of the original event problematic.

In the project “!” (2005) G.R.A.M. is interested by the work of Heinrich Hoffmann, personal photographer to the dictator Adolf Hitler, who photographed Hitler in striking rhetorical gestures and poses for an edition of postcards. They re-enact these visual documents of controlled emotion captured in the photographer´s studio. Dynamic determination, over-dramatic pathos or smug grinning: G.R.A.M. repeats the stills of a fictitious appearance before a mass audience, thus portraying them as a classical stereotype in the lexicon of propaganda.

The well-known series “Parliament” (Hohes House, 2011), the group GRAM presents brawling politicians and then a series of politicians sleeping at their desks in parliament. Their images are based on real photographs from all over the world (Kiev, Seoul, Taipei), which were widely published in worldwide orbiting media corridors.  Verbal abuse, physical skirmishes or „sleeping valleys” in negotiations about the lives of people in the country question democracy itself. There are members of parliament who are elected by the broad masses activated by cheap populism. In a democracy the majority decides about the minority, including the intellectual minority, because everyone has one vote (Robert Menasse). It ceases to function because; to move the culture forward is considered as the most anti democratic attitude and because of the overall decision making of the plebiscite majority (RM). Therefore, “Transnational” democracy is more and more appealing.

Bohunka Koklesova