Like how the vestiges of fragrance clinging to the flacons mingle when the small sculptures are assembled, Gronostay’s sculptural approach can largely be seen as a process of hybridization. In both the sculptures and the photographs, alleged African bodies are juxtaposed with a specific modernist formal language that was developed in Europe in the early 20th century, which employed “art from Africa” as an uncited model for own productions. The colors of the sculptures change with the location of each exhibition: for his new assemblages, Gronostay uses the former favorite objects of flacon collectors from the surroundings of the respective exhibition space. Klagenfurt, for example, has a gray tone. While the bottles in the sculptures are randomly mixed, the objects that appear in the photographs with the series title Perfume Portraits (2022) each come from a specific person, whose initials supplement the title in the style of A.A, M.D, or Z.D. His observations of the consumer culture and subsequent interventions generate portraits of the cities that host the presentation. Imitating the viewpoint of the past century’s colonizers, the artist takes trophies from his expeditions to unknown territories. As the title Kreaturen emphasizes the ambiguity of his hybrid beings, Jojo Gronostay alludes to the fashion industry and its intrinsic vocabulary.
Text: Franz Thalmair
Photo: Johannes Puch