TRANSPARADOX, ZENSUR, and I WAS NOT THERE combine to form a series re-lating to the artist k.ada’s traversal of the Austrian justice and political system. The installation Transparadox, ( together with Werner Schimp) initiated the chain of events that gave rise to the ensuing works. Originally created as a single work for the group exhibition Solaris, Transparadox was intended to provoke discussion on the legal status of marihuana by comparing it with alcohol. Ultimately, it initiated a far broader debate on the freedom of art, a topic dealt with in the subsequent works. After it had remained in place for three months, the police were made aware of the theme and contents of the installation (by a concerned public servant who had read about it in a newspaper). Their reaction was to stage an intervention and confiscate the centerpiece, seven marihuana plants, and a quantity of dried material from previous harvests that was intended for use in future works. Crimi-nal proceedings against the artists were also initiated. This intervention led to the conditions for the next work of k.ada, Zensur which replaced Transparadox in the group exhibition. Created out of the remnants of Transparadox, it is the artist’s comment on the (over)reaction by the authorities, both police and city of-ficials, to a work of art. The case against the artists was dismissed in the trial, held on 9th April 2021. The judge recognised the validity of the work of art and supported the idea of a broader debate on the topic of the legality of marihuana. However, three days later the Public Prosecutor’s Office appealed the ruling on the grounds that Transparadox was not a work of art but a commercial criminal enterprise. This step, and the nondisclosure by the authorities of an essential point of the case, the quantity of THC seized (less than 10% THC per 200 grams, the legally allowed limit) brought k.ada to continue with her manifesto on the whole pro-cess, creating the next installation I was not there. The work deals with the crimi-nal prosecution for cultivating a controlled substance with intent to distribute and combines the topics of prohibitions in public space with prohibition in art.
site specific installation, waldschach, austria | wooden window, wood, light | text: cormac franklin
On 20 September 2021 the process was closed with a provincial court decision of NOT GUILTY without the possibility of an appeal by the prosecution.
ZENSUR comments on the sometimes tense relationship between Art and Politics surrounding the issues of artistic freedom of ex-pression and the artist’s role as a critic of society. A co-creation by the artist k.ada, the Police service of Graz and Councilor Astrid Schleicher FPÖ, It replaces the original installation TRANSPARADOX by k.ada & Werner Schimpl. The Police contributed to the work by cutting down and removing the 7 marijuana plants grow-ing behind the screen as part of the original piece, following a com-plaint by Councilor Schleicher. Zbigniew Preisner rightly said, one must act, one must not remain silent! Silence is tantamount to support. And here the role of art that reacts to the current situation is crucial. And here the role of an artist that reacts to the current CENSURE is imperative!
I WAS NOT THERE combines the topics of prohibitions in public space with prohibition in art, both experienced by me in the last year. It is about a confrontation on the socio-political level which brought about an attempt to limit freedom of art (my freedom of artistic expression). The work is my reaction to this situation and mani-festo on the role of art in breaking down entrenched structures in the eternal belief that it is important for the artist to take risks for a better world. This may have negative consequences in the short term, but in the long term is one of many ways of promoting tolerance and acceptance of something unknown and, in the best case, making it part of everyday life.