Gerhard Johann Lischka


Handwritten systematics by Gerhard Johann Lischka, blue writing on red grid

"As author and publisher, as lecturer and organizer of symposia, as artist and curator of exhibitions, as creator of television films and presenter, as editor of video DVDs and much more, Gerhard Johann Lischka is producer and witness, sender and receiver, detective and archivist, administrator of the past and designer of the present – always in the mode of thinking."

(Peter Weibel)

Gerhard Johann Lischka (1943, Muntlix, Vorarlberg), philosopher of art and culture, studied linguistics and literature, history, pedagogy, art history and philosophy in Bern and Munich. In 1972 his doctorate on Oskar Kokoschka was published. Teaching activities led him to San Francisco, Vienna, Cologne and Zurich, among others. Lischka has curated numerous exhibitions and symposia and has published extensively. He belongs to a circle of European theoreticians and publicists who established »media theory« as an independent discourse in the German-speaking world in the 1980s and 1990s. Among its most prominent representatives were Jean Baudrillard, Friedrich Kittler, Heidi Paris and Peter Gente, Florian Rötzer, Paul Virilio, Peter Weibel and Siegfried Zielinski.

Over the past twenty years, Lischka has realized several projects at the ZKM, including the exhibitions »PVC3 Elektronische Kunst: Projektion und Reflektion« (2002) and the accompanying DVD and »« (2007), also supplemented by a DVD. In 2003, in cooperation with the ZKM, he released the DVD entitled »Am Nerv der Zeit« . The »Superästhetik Interviews« of 1979 published on it as well as the conversations on » Aktuelles Denken« show Lischka in exchange with artists and theoreticians of his time, among them Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, Jean Baudrillard, Jürgen Claus, Valie Export, Jean-François Lyotard, Niklas Luhmann, Friedrich Kittler, Vilém Flusser and many others.

In 2003 and 2004 Gerhard Johann Lischka and Peter Weibel published three joint conference volumes: »Das Regime des Images: Zwischen mimischen Display und Corporate Branding« (2003), »Act! Handlungsformen in Kunst und Politik« and »Die Medien der Kunst: Die Kunst der Medien« (2004).

The Gerhard Johann Lischka Archive, which became part of the ZKM in 2014, provides an insight into his work as a theoretician, publicist, and curator. His estate currently comprises eleven linear meters of documents and data carriers. All documents –photographs, handwritten texts, and graphics – are also available as digital copies. Material collections and notes are the main focus of the archive. Lischka sorted his documents both thematically – under keywords such as sleep, beauty, body – and chronologically up to and including 2010. A photo slide collection comprising almost five hundred items as well as VHS and audio cassettes are also accessible for research purposes. With Lischka's Olivetti computer, his Olympus camera and other technical objects, some of the artist's tools are also part of the archive.

Thanks to Lischka's intervention, the library of performance art by »Perforum« has also been situated at the ZKM since 2009. »Perforum« was part of the Seedamm Cultural Center founded by Charles Vögele (since 2010 Vögele Kultur Zentrum) in Switzerland.

On the occasion of his archive donation, ZKM dedicated to him the exhibition »GJ Lischka. Present Mind".

More information about Gerhard Johann Lischka

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