Artist Liam Gillick hasn’t seen them. Director John Waters has no idea where they are. Filmmaker Tony Conrad has his theories, but he’s not talking. But whoever you ask, the fact remains, the four members of the Austrian artist group, Gelitin (Wolfgang Gantner, Ali Janka, Florian Reither, and Tobias Urban) have disappeared! So Salvatore Viviano, artist, art dealer, and occasional collaborator in Gelitin performances, sets off on a cinematic search for the funniest boy group in the world. Inquiring microphone in hand, he questions artists, gallerists and curators about the group’s possible whereabouts. His imaginary quest provides the narrative framework for Angela Christlieb’s tour de force film, which both portrays, and itself, mirrors, the energy of Gelitin’s anarchic presentations. The quartet rose to fame with their transgressive and visually powerful performances, sculptures, installations, and photos. They roll gleefully in the mud, incite audiences to acts of art destruction, attach stuffed animals to their testicles for a “fashion shoot”; dance naked with spinning tassels attached to their buns, or reveal which of the four provided the “source material” for which letters of their “Caca-bet” - their own personal alphabet, used for writings created out of their own personal excrement. At one point, art dealer Christian Meyer observes, “Our world is always trying to rationalize things, an approach that Gelitin deliberately refuses.”
Christlieb constructs her film out of a wealth of archival material, rhythmically assembled, and interwoven with stories and observations from various interviews. Art dealer Leo Koenig admits that Gelitin’s art just makes him want to strip of his clothes, while artist Tom Sachs declares, “I wish my life were 10 percent more Gelitin!” After watching this film, maybe you will too!