Reiner Riedler’s Authentic Fakes
Reiner Riedler is an Austrian artist who originally wanted to study ethnology. It is clear he is interested in ideas of technology, the authentic experience, globalism, simulacrum, and leisure. His series entitled Fake Holidays explores the physical manifestations of manufactured demand, constructed satiation, privileged entitlement, and the tension between excessive wants and basic human needs. His landscapes seem somehow satisfying yet, at the same time edge into the realm of post-apocalypse. He shows us indoor ski slopes in Dubai, a moonlight rest in an indoor tropical dome in Germany, and lunch on the “Star Trek Experience” in Las Vegas.
Riedler’s Fake Holidays series brings to mind a quote from the now famous book Air Guitar by the critic and cultural theorist Dave Hickey on the issue of authenticity, wherein, he proclaims the giant rhinestone as his favorite object in the Liberace Museum in Las Vegas, Nevada.
-Dave Hickey writes:
“One either prefers the honest fakery of the neon or the fake honesty of the sunset – the undisguised artifice of culture or the cultural construction of ‘authentic’ nature – the genuine rhinestone, finally, or the imitation pearl.”
The distinction that Hickey is making here is that honest fakery allows an appreciation of a scene or object for what it is without deferring to culturally-imposed ideas of beauty considered to be “authentic.” Essentially, Riedler has traveled the world seeking the authentic fake and in this series he gets us one step closer to seeing through the lies and empty promises of advertising and consumerism. These are the images that can only signal the end of the oil age and they stand as cultural relics of a time that has indeed come and will be very soon gone.