Marsyas (Von dem Tod, aus dem Leben)

Marsyas (On Death, Out of Life)

Marsyas (De la mort, de la vie)

Greek Pieces 6

CR 52. Year 1977

Wv 52 Marsyas 093
Wv 52 Marsyas 196
Wv 52 Marsyas 077
Wv 52 Marsyas 073
Wv 52 Marsyas 044
Wv 52 Marsyas 046
Wv 52 Marsyas 026

    Marsyas is at once subject and object. As subject, he fails not due to his skills as an artist but because of the limitations of his instruments; as object, he is a product of Apollo and offers us a picture of vile mistreatment. Are the actions of the satyr and what he must suffer interrelated in some way?

    Werner Hofmann 1984. Translated by e_CR editors

    His approach aims at the deepest psychological layers of man, those interwoven with the daily conduct of his life […]. In order to accomplish this, Gerz tries to cause the greatest possible disorientation, or an obvious absence of solutions, in his environments and performances.

    Herbert Molderings 1984

    To leave an authentic trace that way meant, to Gerz, to go “behind the image”. Away from the mediated image towards real life. … Here and there the body showed signs of life, it showed in the communication the relation between the real and the mediated.

    Eleonora Louis, Mechthild Widrich 1996. Translated by e_CR editors



    2 b/w photographs, each 80 x 120 cm, photographic opaque, brush, video camera, monitor
    Duration 30 minutes

    Jochen Gerz stands with his back to the audience in front of 2 large photographs, each of them showing a dead raven hanging on a post. Using his hands, he paints over the ravens with photographic opaque. He then turns to the audience and draws a vertical line down the front of his body in paint. The audience is recorded on video tape. In the second part of the performance, a monitor plays back the video recording of the audience. Gerz lies, his arms and legs raised from the floor, in front of the monitor, striking his forehead rhythmically against the screen. The photographic opaque is transferred as a vertical stripe to the monitor showing the audience.

    The performance was documented as a video (676).


    Basel 1977. Köln, 30.10.1977. Graz, 10.5.1978

    Exhibitions of the documentation

    Roma 1979. Paris 1981. Zürich 1981. Paris 2002 (Strasbourg 2002. Liechtenstein 2002)


    Video, 8:43 min
    Vidéo Les Beaux Jours, la Maison de l’Image, Strasbourg and imai, inter media art institute, Düsseldorf


    I: Chur 1978, pp. 33-35. Roma 1979, p. 140. Bielefeld 1981, pp. 46-47, 106. Paris 1981a, p. 302. Zürich 1981, p. 226. Köln 1982b, p. 167. Ludwigshafen 1984, pp. 15, 76-87. Bucarest 1985, p. 44. Yokohama 1987, p. 7. Tel Aviv 1995, pp. 35-37. Paris 2002, pp. 54-57

    II: Titz 1978

    III: Gravel 1978, pp. 49-50

    IV: Nuremberg 2018

    V: Wolf 1992, pp. 44ff., 192-195, 198. Osswald 1994, p. 199

    Access general bibliography

    My name is Jochen Gerz