In the Museümli, a ghost accompanies each of the exhibitions shown there: The crane, which is permanently mounted under the ceiling, introduces an essential part of the given architecture, yet is too different to blend in unobtrusively with it. An elephant in the white cube that imposes itself and boasts about the loads it can lift. For this piece, the crane in the former generator house of Stadtwerke Buchs (CH) is motorized. With a metallic clatter, it rumbles independently over the heads of the guests and leisurely lowers its iron finger. It also demonstrates its dominance acoustically. With piles of dumbbells lying at the bottom, which the crane is obviously trying to pick up. However, this isn’t ordinary sports equipment, as we might know from the gym: they are feather-light replicas made of fabric. And the muscular crane hesitantly drives into this colourful pile of plush dumbbells.

Two power potentials meet: the crane as a prosthesis that reinforces a person’s lack of ability. And sports equipment that strengthens people themselves. Power objects searching for their power subjects. Yet, Lift is a demonstration of strength that fails: firstly because the heavy hook never lifts a dumbbell or secondly because lifting a plush dumbbell hardly demonstrates any particular muscular strength. It is reminiscent of a gripping machine at fairgrounds: Of that hopeful moment when the meticulously arranged gripper snaps shut and then still goes up unsuccessfully, without any prize. This inadequacy critically evokes narratives of competitiveness, strength, pressure to perform and resilience.

These are attributes of the socially instilled characterization that is all too often called “masculinity”. Against this backdrop, the training barbell as a toy also points to an early childhood glorification of such. In this constellation, such role models are met with radical softness: Untroubled by the force of the crane, the plush dumbbells roll aside. And while they tumble off the pedestal, isolated and unimpressed, the crane also seems to be moved to show a tender side.