Space and time inspire Vienna artist

A new book from Vienna-based artist Tomas Eller - who has created work using guns and dynamite - draws inspiration from physics and maths.

Space and time inspire Vienna artist
Tomas Eller working on Expendic. Photo: Katja Eller

The title, YOUBLACKHOLE, refers to a region of space-time from which gravity prevents anything, including light, from escaping.

Three eminent mathematicians, including Sir Roger Penrose, have contributed essays to his book.

Eller’s work ranges “from huge phenomena to the tiniest detail – from astrophysics and endless horizons to nanophysics and the microcosmos,” writes Verena Kaspar-Eisert, director of Vienna’s Ostlicht gallery, who edited Eller's book. 

Eller, who's originally from Meran in South Tyrol, trained as a sculptor but his work includes film, installation, print, and photography.

For the series of sculptures Expendic (2009) he examines how to visualise non-space, and uses the Penrose Diagram (which illustrates the geometry of space-time in the vicinity of black holes) as a starting point to explore the enormous amount of energy released by black holes.

Eller took diamond-shaped aluminium panels and damaged them, using different firearms.

He was similarly uncompromising in the making of his video Baryogen (2014) – which shows eight tonnes of marble being blown up with dynamite. Eller has also created images using jet skis, snow ploughs, helicopters, and motorcycles.

YOUBLACKHOLE is published by Revolver, ISBN 978-3-95763-110-7

Picture Gallery: YOUBLACKHOLE: Art collides with physics

Detail from Expendic. Photo: Tomas Eller 

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London Tube gets covered-up versions of Schiele nudes after it deems the originals too racy

As the art world plans to celebrate the centenary of Austrian expressionist painter Egon Schiele's death, some of his nudes have been dubbed too racy to show in their full glory, not least in the London underground.

London Tube gets covered-up versions of Schiele nudes after it deems the originals too racy
Photo: Christian Lendl/Vienna Tourist Board/AFP
Austrian museums will next year host a series of exhibitions and events to mark the centenary of his passing but time has apparently not dimmed some of the prudish attitudes prevalent in his lifetime regarding his rawest works, Vienna Tourist Board director Norbert Kettner told AFP.
Two of his works — “Seated Male Nude (Self-Portrait),” from 1910, and his 1914 work “Girl With Orange Stockings,” appear with their genitals covered over after Transport for London found the uncensored originals beyond the pale.
Advertising hoardings in Germany have similarly covered the offending parts, even though the works were deliberately selected as “we wanted to raise a discussion and the theme of nudity seemed pertinent,” Kettner told AFP.
“The campaign was ready but when we came up with the first visuals we had several reactions of 'that won't do; regulations won't allow us to show genitalia,'” he explained after the London Tube and a German airport both complained.
“We had the green light for a very large format and, the day before they went up, agreement was withdrawn as an ethics committee felt (full nude versions) wouldn't be acceptable for an airport public” or patrons of London's underground trains.
The Viennese tourist office quickly revamped the pictures, covering up the offending organs and adding on the blotted out section the slogan, “SORRY, 100 years old but still too daring today.”
They have also added the hashtag #ToArtItsFreedom in London – a play on the “To every age its art. To every art its freedom” inscribed on the entrance of the Vienna Secession building housing the union of Austrian artists movement.
Kettner revealed that a Viennese display did not share the artistic-sexual qualms of the British or the Germans and had approved a “non-censored” version.
The prolific Schiele, born in 1890 and who died of Spanish flu aged 28, was not always popular in his homeland where some, notably in conservative circles, took a dim view of his vision of tortured eroticism.
Nonetheless, a retrospective of his work will see a number of exhibitions highlight his talents as well as those of his first mentor and Secession co-founder Gustav Klimt.