Boris Ondreicka

Born in 1969 in Slovaquia. Lives and works in Slovaquia

I am the wall

Sound installation. Mp3 on cd
durée : 1'
Year of Purchase: 2007

From the urban point of view, the wall designates the place of separation between the public and private spheres. It divides zones, delimits the usage of a territory, and determines the flow. More broadly speaking, one could say that it organizes the syntax of the city by hierarchizing the map, thus imposing an urban and social order.

More specifically, in the field of art, the white wall first announces a passage—that from the world of habitual use to the world of aesthetic experience. “The object,” placed between the walls of the “white cube” is projected into a space supposedly impervious to the energy of the world. The white partition is the neuter, the element that covers the noises of reality.

From Robert Smithson to Brian O’Doherty, passing through artists of the so-called “institutional critique,” a number of artists and theorists have studied the space in which works are exhibited, the norms of exhibition, and generally museological mechanisms.

Aware of the exhibition codes, the Slovakian artist Boris Ondreicka develops his work within this dynamic of thought. Using form purified to the point of excess, the piece I am the wall tries to show (not without humor) the museographic vocabulary and the organizational element of power. It’s a wall from which comes out suspended the cord of a headset placed on the ground. There is no visible playback device, nothing else around. A wall, a cord, a headset. Once brought to one’s ears, words are heard: “I am that familiar wall which separates you from your neighbors. I am that forgotten wall which has to listen to your sobbing at night and their endless fights from the other side. I defend you from cold, I protect you from everybody. I define your intimacy. When you’re drilling me you stick those fucking screws in me. I’m your tired wall.”

A wall personified, embodied, which laments over itself and speaks ill of the indifference it is subjected to. An architectural element which expresses its lassitude over separating or protecting the world. Notably, in the exhibition space, the wall is also the site of expression, the locus of discourse (it could be the object of a specific archeology). Boris Ondreicka’s work plays here with metonymy: that which spreads the word becomes the word.

I am the wall contains a relation to space which, through the complaint played through the headset, is played out in the confrontation between the body of the visitor and the white surface of the wall. The headset signifies the address of the message—a message whispered into the ear of each visitor, a confrontation between architectural and organic bodies. It’s the choreography of a nothing that must be danced, as if all movement had to be stopped to gain access to the world, to leave the bustle behind in order to return to the real. Facing a white wall, the audience observes themselves, questions their own position (broadly speaking), and contemplates the blank page that announces a certain resignation along with the desire to create.

Guillaume Mansart