If you walk around the corner into the Tuchlaubenhof, you’ll hear him whistling and smell spray paint. When the man, enveloped in black, stops whistling, he also stops spraying. Which is when he climbs down from the platform to view his work. And then whistles his way back to work. He’s in the middle of spray-painting a huge golden rabbit with black and white paint. After three hours, the Easter bunny has developed a second ego: a Golif.
The subject of anonymity
Born in 1984, the man in black who is working here uses a pseudonym, as do all street artists. Golif. And Golif paints Golifs. Which are figures with an expressive dynamism that always bear a relationship to the city and to society. They are characters that we meet on a daily basis, people hidden in the anonymity of the city, people about whom we only see a snippet of their overall lives. Anger, joy, fear, malice, happiness…whatever is written on their faces at that moment.
Golif also toys with this idea of anonymity as an artist by withdrawing behind his work. “It helps me when I’m working in public spaces,” he says, “it’s my protection mechanism. Everyone does that in their own way. Everyone has their public and their private personality.” Nowadays, you’re more likely to see his works in galleries than in public spaces. But he’s stayed true to the materials of the street: he still paints on pasteboard, straw mats, packaging and walls. Golifs, Golifs and more Golifs. Sometimes they’re male, sometimes female. “I’m trying it out, carrying it to extremes, exploring and exhausting these figures until I come to a dead end,” says the artist about his obsession.
From walls to objects
The rabbit in the Tuchlaubenhof of the Goldenes Quartier is only the second object that he has spray-painted. The first time was at Vienna’s Summerstage together with the sculptor Hans Kuppelwieser, whose aluminium plates – crumpled into balls and hung from industrial cranes – Golif painted. “The rabbit is like a betterment of sorts,” laughs Golif, “First I painted silver, and now gold.”
Another art intervention by Golif can be seen on a 700-square-metre-large façade on Vienna’s Linke Wienzeile, on the corner of Anschützgasse. Somewhat smaller-format Golifs are also on display at Peter Doujak’s gallery, the KMG Art Studios, and in autumn/winter there “is bound to be something new and big,” says Golif. He won’t let on any more details – he doesn’t want to ruin the surprise.
The art intervention by Golif will be in the Tuchlaubenhof until 28th March.