Three years ago, in autumn 2000, Peter Kaser created an art site near the Brenner highway: 84 steps on the edge of a waterfall, leading to a small observation bunker of the Second World War. Since then, artistic initiatives are periodically held in this place of art. One of the projects carried out in this place of art “scalini 84 stairs” near the Brenner village was “: heaven & hell”, a lyric stair installation by Kurt Lanthaler and Peter Kaser. Kurt Lanthaler composed the poem especially for this place. 84 verses for 84 stairs written on plexiglas panels fitted on each stair rise so that visitors could read them as they walked up the stairs. For 26 months.
The exhibition in the Museum Gallery of Bolzano (12.12.2003 – 10.01.2004) represents a further development of the work of art “: heaven & hell”, but also a redefinition of the whole story. The main theme is the fascinating cooperation between the two artists who come from two different cultural contexts, figurative art and literature. The theme explores the challenge to combine these two arts in order to create a unique experience that goes beyond the two subjects themselves. Indeed, at Brenner, the writer was required to create a lyric poem for an art site and therefore to present it visually, whereas for the exhibition at the Museum Gallery, the artist has to create artistic representations that, on the one hand, can be illustrated in book form and, on the other, recall the lyric poem of the “walking reader” in a merely figurative way. In order to obtain this effect, Peter Kaser lets a golden potato roll down the 84 stairs, through which Tschaekk Madia, the protagonist of Lanthaler’s poem “heaven & hell”, manages to escape from his demons who are chasing him. Visitors read Lanthaler’s epic poem as they actually walk up the 84 stairs that lead to the bunker, whereas they comfortably watch the potato drama, as if they were at the cinema: the “walking reader” thus becomes a “reading hand”. Kaser believes that figurative art originates in the minds of people: first of all, in the mind of the artist, and then in that of the viewer who completes the work of art through a subjective process. But why does Kaser intentionally represent the fall from “heaven to hell” with a potato? Replying to this question, the artist gives a laconic answer: “Why not?” The drummer Paolo Jack Alemanno is famous for his collaboration with bands like Westbound, Cherry Moon, Skanners, Burning Mind on the Road, Skanners and many others.