Gelitin (formerly Gelatin) is group of four artists from Austria who met on a summer camp in 1978 and have been "playing and working together" ever since. They have been exhibiting internationally since 1993. Individually they are Wolfgang Gantner (1968, Mistelbach, Austria), Ali Janka (1970, Salzburg, Austria), Tobias Urban (1966, Munich, Germany), and Florian Reither (1970, St. Pölten, Austria).
They were invited to Grizedale in 2002 on the back of work that was highly critical of Austrian tourism, as it was felt they could offer a charged perspective to the Lake District. Gelitin are an art collective who are well known for their often shocking performances and installations, which regularly attempt to break down barriers associated with the body. In culture speak Gelitin "assert an active and obscene idealism that mocks contemporary life and parodies the hierarchical and capitalist model that tends to structure the art-world". In more simple terms they get naked and piss a lot.
Upon arrival at Grizedale in August 2003 it became clear that Gelitin were actually a bunch of hippies, seeking a wild form of nature that did not exist. They were appalled by the mass tourism and overcrowded nature of the Lake District. They also found all the restaurants to be terrible (which they are). They wanted to cycle everywhere, which is a bad idea - partly because it’s so hilly and partly because it’s so dangerous, with all the tourists bombing around in fat SUVs never driven outside Clapham.
Gelitin’s initial idea was to survey a site for their proposed Giant Rabbit that was eventually realised upon a mountain side in Italy. Of course, this kind of 'structure' would never be allowed to happen in the Lakes because of the planning authority, so it didn’t.
Gelitin then wanted to build a restaurant for the Let’s Get Married Today wedding project in Grizedale Forest but then decided it was a lame idea, so instead did some more of their infamous ‘erections in the landscape’ photos.
Almost every aspect of Gelitin’s visit has now become folklore, particularly 'The Teabagging Incident'. This was a proposal for Ambleside Flower Show in which Gelitin proposed to set up a ‘teabagging’ tent. In an office discussion about the origins and principles of this activity, Florian offered to there and then demonstrate the action of lowering his testicles onto the closed eyelids of GA director Adam Sutherland. Despite the claims of teabagging’s balming and therapeutic qualities, Adam refused the kind offer, mostly on the grounds that Florian has the most unsightly genitalia in Christendom. Needless to say the tent did not go ahead, despite our venerable and principled director’s agreeing to action it.
Gelitin were commissioned for Agrifashionista to perform ‘Yes OK Ex’ to a live studio audience at the A Foundation's Rochelle School in Shoreditch. This saw them bouncing on trampolines whilst depicting the audience on the wall and ceiling that had been transformed into a giant canvas. All wearing only floaty chiffon skirts (view here).
Gelitin’s best proposal to date was to create a local art school... so if you are reading this, and a member of Gelitin, get in touch.
2009 The PIG presents 8 Solos Shows…, Deitch Projects, New York, USA
2007 Hamsterwheel, Arsenale, Venice Biennale, Italy
2007 The Dig Cunt, Coney Island, New York
2005 Sweatwat, Gagosian Gallery, London
2000 The B-Thing, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, World Trade Center, New York, USA
2010 The New Decor, Hayward Gallery, London
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