If I can't fuck, it's not my revolution

by Marianne Vlaschits

In December 2012 I painted a mural of an approximate size of 75 sqm in the Viennese club “Grelle Forelle”. The choice of motif and theme were entirely up to my personal artistic musings. Due to the club being situated directly next to the Donaukanal (“Danube Canal”) and its name “Grelle Forelle” (which translates to “Garish Trout”) I decided to take up the subject “water” in my work. Furthermore, the designed corridor is conceived as some sort of winter garden and the wall is halfway built up of sound-absorbing glass tiles, resulting in the room's appearance of a swimming pool or a fish tank. Another inspiration was drawn from the purpose of the club itself – wild parties that may last well into the next morning.

The idea to this mural struck me whilst reading the paper “The arrival of Dionysus” by Burghard Dedner, in which the author draws comparisons between the Women's March on Versailles during the French Revolution, which was led by the so-called “fishwives”, and the ancient Greek tragedy “The Bacchae” by the Athenian playwright Euripides. On the one hand, the motive of the furious, ruthless women is the political overthrow during the Revolution, on the other hand, we see the Bacchantes worshipping the god of ecstasy within their orgies - both movements being led by the idea of a utopia. And every utopia is doomed to failure.

In the following, I want to describe the mural how the observer experiences it, striding across the room:

Entering the corridor in the “Grelle Forelle” through a glass door, you see on your left a wall of vitreous sliding doors, on which palm-like anemones were printed. The people who are behind this wall, ecstatically dancing, resemble fish in an aquarium. (These imprints have not been completed yet, however, they will be done in a few weeks.)

After some metres the actual mural starts. We see a horde of angry, fat fishmen, heading towards backstage area. An indignant Poseidon lets himself be drawn on a sea shell carriage by two pink sea horses. A furious dolphin and a pineapple are in on it as well. On opposite side, we can see a tiled glass front with white painted pillars, that are supposed to mark the entrance to the palace.

After a few metres the corridor turns left and opens up – we are now in the backstage area. Here, the painting separates to the two opposing walls. Painted architectural elements, such as balustrades and columns, reveal to the observer that they are now right inside the palace. Within, the fishmen celebrate a rampant orgy. Instead of concocting a revolution, they prefer to get drunk and have sexual intercourse, both among each other and with sea animals. The erstwhile enraged pack has by now decided to indulge in a feast, rather than to disturb the prevalent order. The essential element is the door that leads to the technical area, which is sometimes used as an additional, particularly “private” backstage area. Across this door we behold a tremendously fat fishman, lying on his stomach, presenting his buttocks to the observer. His widely opened, sharp-toothed anus covers the door precisely. This motif corresponds to François Rabelais' symbolic language and stands for the renewal of the world, at the same time, however, it alludes to a common Viennese swearword, namely “Geh in Orsch” (literally “Go to Arse”).

Leaving the room to return to the party, the observer sees the terminatory motif on the exit door – a urinating, smirking fishman, holding a flag in his hand. The flag shows the colours of the Tricolore, the symbol of the French Revolution. However, we do not see the usual three stripes, but a heart on blue background. Inside the heart we see a white palm tree. The palm tree is a symbol of decadence and luxury, the island stands for utopia, and the heart for carnal desires.
Tags mural, acrylic, figurative, large format, man, nude, public space, subversive , gender
Technique Painting


  • If I can't fuck, it's not my revolution
  • If I can't fuck, it's not my revolution
  • If I can't fuck, it's not my revolution

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