God is made of Gold
God is made of Gold
God is made of Gold

Siggi Hofer


Dom Museum Wien


Modern and Contemporary art

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Photo: Leni Deinhardstein, Lisa Rastl, Dom Museum Wien
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Social analyses in wood and gold

Siggi Hofer, winner of the 2009 Otto-Mauer-Prize, confronts with this complex work on the topic of God and living environement.

This looks like the work of a model maker: on plinths of fired clay, thin slats of wood are glued together to small houses, or rather unfinished parts of houses with their side walls folded open. This makes the interior construction of the architecture visible; indeed, inside and out flow into one another. The projecting gable roofs, the all-around galleries underneath, and the dark wood stain are reminiscent of traditional Tyrolean wood construction and can be read as an homage to the artist’s native South Tyrol.

Another level of meaning is added by lettering that is mounted on the outside wall. Oversized, out-of-scale white letters read as “GOD,” and a stenciled writing along the bottom gallery reads “GOD IS MADE OF GOLD”—a claim that seems a bit incongruous with the plain materials of the handiwork. Is this perhaps an ironic reference to the solid Christian value system in Hofer’s homeland, which, like his architectural creations, is in danger here and there of coming apart at the seams?

On a closer look, Sigi Hofer’s windowless little houses also have something hallowed to them, like a shrine or temple. Gold as a color in a sacred-art context is symbolically charged beyond its material value. The gold ground of altar paintings and the precious materiality of works of goldsmithery are suggestive of the sphere of timeless transcendence. According to the medieval philosophy of light, the reflection of light on gold may be seen as radiance of the light of God.

Siggi Hofer is the winner of the 2009 Otto Mauer Prize. He is a painter as well as an object, installation and performance artist. His manifesto-like scripted messages are implemented in different media, using typography that is reminiscent of advertising art. Hofer analyzes social processes, building—comparable to collaging— a new art cosmos from different materials and subjects.