Projekte visual art

5N8A1635 kopi

Uncertain Traces — Comments on Mapping in-between Order and Randomness. Ink on Photopaper, 106 x 145 cm.

 

Aage Langhelle's new exhibition at Oseana could be seen as a document of an ongoing artistic process, a work-in-progress bridging the gap between photography and painting, figuration and abstraction.
Uncertain Maps is a body of work using photos of details from the urban scene as a point of departure. Here, the artist documents objects – such as birdhouses, discarded furniture, scarves hung from branches and lamp posts by protesters to commemorate victims of violent clashes, water bowls for dogs – left by Berliners on the street. The artist interprets these urban leftovers as a kind of non-verbal act of communication, articulated as miniature interventions in public space. These photographies are composed as close-ups – macrophotography – in such a way that the motifs are hardly recogniseable. These abstracted figurations are developed onto photographic paper, before the artist proceeds to paint or draw interconnected lines upon them. Thereafter, the images are subjected to harsh treatment, by washing and various chemical processes, adding a further layer of randomness and abstraction before the images are again washed, treated with heat, drawn upon again, the process repeated until the original image is transformed to the limits of recognition and beyond.
The juxtaposition (or superimposition) of photo documentation of reality and pure abstraction could be said to touch upon both the macroscopic – city planning, infrastructure, satellite imagery – and microscopic – traces, remnants, of individual existence. Taking his practice one step further into the realms of pure abstraction through the series Uncertain Traces — Comments on Mapping in- between Order and Randomness, the photographic is abandoned altogether (the only remnant being the actual photo paper), thereby distilling the creative process down to the purely material and abstract, emphasizing qualities pertaining to artistic control versus tumultuous physical conditions, giving rise to a unique colour spectrum as well as cracks and bulges in the paper – a topography arising from the artistic process, guiding the flow of rivers of ink. By removing the photographic references (even though they were never easily recognizable in the first place, obscured by layers of cracks and ink), Langhelle shifts his focus to these layers of material interactions, possible interpretations and ways of perception.
A brand-new series shown at Oseana, Layers of space 2017, returns to the semi- familiar and recognisable, based upon snapshots taken from garbage bins in public space in Berlin. These photographic compositions could be seen as a document of temporary, unseen visual collaborations between city dwellers, completely uncontrolled by the artist, who puts his hand, holding a compact camera, into Berlin's yellow trash cans, takes a picture of what's contained within and returns to his studio to print the images. Again, a wibbly-wobbly grid of interlacing lines is created, using inks, washing and heat. In contrast to his recent series of watercolours (titled after their predominant colour) where rigid rasters of horizontal and vertical lines are painted, then washed, smudged and blurred, these seemingly arbitrary entanglements manifest as a subjective cartography – the artist's contribution to ordinarily unseen, unconscious compositional collaborations of urban coexistence.
Referencing the top-down perspective, depictions of our planet from above, Langhelle's art brings to mind the early abstractions of Kazimir Malevich's proto- colour field paintings, one example being Suprematist Composition: Airplane Flying (1915) – a far more fitting reference for these tangled networks than the apparent visual similarity to Jackson Pollock’s dripster painting. Langhelle’s images could, akin to Wassily Kandinsky’s non-representational painting, be thought of as intermediaries between the inner and outer world: the inner explored from the outer, and vice versa.
An element of contemplation lies at the core of Langhelle's practice. The artist enters a sort of meditative state, an intuitive, next to non-thinking flow, while working on his pictures. The resulting patterns – requiring intensive work, editing and repetition – bring to mind both Google maps and satellite imagery (the macrocosm) and neural networks (maps of inner space, the microcosm). These intertwined lines often seem to be frozen in the midst of a choreographed set of movements where the rhythm is fluent, but simultaneously tight: As the artist himself puts it, “it has to swing”. But the patterns are in no way calculated – they arise, organically, arbitrarily and fluently, like synaptic connections of the brain or asphalt in-between and around housing blocks. The artist “dances in chains”, as Nietzsche wrote about the abundant inspiration offered to the old poets by the imposition of constraints in the creative process.
The subtitle Comments on Mapping in-between Order and Randomness seems to provide a key to the decryption of what is presented in the gallery. The ancient Chinese sages created the I Ching – a system of divination involving the throwing of sticks and a subsequent interpretation of the incidental result – because they believed that random events, due to the fact that they are devoid of apparent, instant, inherent meaning, may reveal deeper truths.

Rasmus Hungnes . Editor-in-chief, KUNSTforum 

 

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Pictures from the Exhibition in Oseana, Griegsamlingen, Galleri Hvelvet. Norway. Photo Vidar Langeland.

 

5N8A1635 kopi

Uncertain Traces — Comments on Mapping in-between Order and Randomness. Tusche auf Fotopapier, 106 x 145 cm.

 

Aage Langhelle's new exhibition at Oseana could be seen as a document of an ongoing artistic process, a work-in-progress bridging the gap between photography and painting, figuration and abstraction.
Uncertain Maps is a body of work using photos of details from the urban scene as a point of departure. Here, the artist documents objects – such as birdhouses, discarded furniture, scarves hung from branches and lamp posts by protesters to commemorate victims of violent clashes, water bowls for dogs – left by Berliners on the street. The artist interprets these urban leftovers as a kind of non-verbal act of communication, articulated as miniature interventions in public space. These photographies are composed as close-ups – macrophotography – in such a way that the motifs are hardly recogniseable. These abstracted figurations are developed onto photographic paper, before the artist proceeds to paint or draw interconnected lines upon them. Thereafter, the images are subjected to harsh treatment, by washing and various chemical processes, adding a further layer of randomness and abstraction before the images are again washed, treated with heat, drawn upon again, the process repeated until the original image is transformed to the limits of recognition and beyond.
The juxtaposition (or superimposition) of photo documentation of reality and pure abstraction could be said to touch upon both the macroscopic – city planning, infrastructure, satellite imagery – and microscopic – traces, remnants, of individual existence. Taking his practice one step further into the realms of pure abstraction through the series Uncertain Traces — Comments on Mapping in- between Order and Randomness, the photographic is abandoned altogether (the only remnant being the actual photo paper), thereby distilling the creative process down to the purely material and abstract, emphasizing qualities pertaining to artistic control versus tumultuous physical conditions, giving rise to a unique colour spectrum as well as cracks and bulges in the paper – a topography arising from the artistic process, guiding the flow of rivers of ink. By removing the photographic references (even though they were never easily recognizable in the first place, obscured by layers of cracks and ink), Langhelle shifts his focus to these layers of material interactions, possible interpretations and ways of perception.
A brand-new series shown at Oseana, Layers of space 2017, returns to the semi- familiar and recognisable, based upon snapshots taken from garbage bins in public space in Berlin. These photographic compositions could be seen as a document of temporary, unseen visual collaborations between city dwellers, completely uncontrolled by the artist, who puts his hand, holding a compact camera, into Berlin's yellow trash cans, takes a picture of what's contained within and returns to his studio to print the images. Again, a wibbly-wobbly grid of interlacing lines is created, using inks, washing and heat. In contrast to his recent series of watercolours (titled after their predominant colour) where rigid rasters of horizontal and vertical lines are painted, then washed, smudged and blurred, these seemingly arbitrary entanglements manifest as a subjective cartography – the artist's contribution to ordinarily unseen, unconscious compositional collaborations of urban coexistence.
Referencing the top-down perspective, depictions of our planet from above, Langhelle's art brings to mind the early abstractions of Kazimir Malevich's proto- colour field paintings, one example being Suprematist Composition: Airplane Flying (1915) – a far more fitting reference for these tangled networks than the apparent visual similarity to Jackson Pollock’s dripster painting. Langhelle’s images could, akin to Wassily Kandinsky’s non-representational painting, be thought of as intermediaries between the inner and outer world: the inner explored from the outer, and vice versa.
An element of contemplation lies at the core of Langhelle's practice. The artist enters a sort of meditative state, an intuitive, next to non-thinking flow, while working on his pictures. The resulting patterns – requiring intensive work, editing and repetition – bring to mind both Google maps and satellite imagery (the macrocosm) and neural networks (maps of inner space, the microcosm). These intertwined lines often seem to be frozen in the midst of a choreographed set of movements where the rhythm is fluent, but simultaneously tight: As the artist himself puts it, “it has to swing”. But the patterns are in no way calculated – they arise, organically, arbitrarily and fluently, like synaptic connections of the brain or asphalt in-between and around housing blocks. The artist “dances in chains”, as Nietzsche wrote about the abundant inspiration offered to the old poets by the imposition of constraints in the creative process.
The subtitle Comments on Mapping in-between Order and Randomness seems to provide a key to the decryption of what is presented in the gallery. The ancient Chinese sages created the I Ching – a system of divination involving the throwing of sticks and a subsequent interpretation of the incidental result – because they believed that random events, due to the fact that they are devoid of apparent, instant, inherent meaning, may reveal deeper truths.

Rasmus Hungnes . Editor-in-chief, KUNSTforum 

 

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Bilder von der Ausstellung in Oseana, Griegsamlingen, Galleri Hvelvet. Norwegen. Foto Vidar Langeland.

 

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Uncertain Traces — Comments on Mapping in-between Order and Randomness. Tusche auf Fotopapier, 106x145 cm. 

Mapping structures – explored from a distance

Ausstellung mit Kay Arne Kirkebø und Aage Langhelle

Kurator Rasmus Hungnes

As it first meets the eye, the art of Kay Arne Kirkebø and the art of Aage Langhelle may strike the beholder as fundamentally different. Kirkebø's clean black and white cityscapes contain an impressive amount of detail, radiate a great abundance of control. Langhelle's chaotic, colorful painterly abstractions rest upon paper which has apparently taken a heavy beating, where errant lines and smudged ink weave into each other in webs of erratic, seemingly random pathways. But still, both artists chose the other as artistic reflections of their own work for a series of exhibitions, of which Mapping structures – explored from a distance constitutes the first. And as it turns out upon closer examination of their œuvres, unexpected similarities rise to the surface.

The most readily apparent common denominator is the representational navigation of urban life. Kirkebø, in the series Isometric Structures, draws maps of constructed manifestations of the imagination. While his game world-like maps are indisputably figurative, the real-world references within Langhelle's ongoing series are far more abstract. Langhelle has long dealt with notions of urbanity, often focusing on minute details, the unnoticed, the seemingly insignificant constituents of city life.

His series Uncertain Traces — Comments on Mapping in-between Order and Randomness is an evolution of Uncertain Maps, a body of work where photos of details from the urban scene are used as the starting point. Aage Langhelle´s photographic practice, as seen in Uncertain Maps, documents objects – such as birdhouses, discarded furniture, scarves hung from branches and lamp posts by protesters to commemorate victims of violent clashes, water bowls for dogs – left by Berliners on the street – non-verbal acts of communication articulated through miniature interventions in public space. These snapshots of the urban microcosm are developed onto photo paper, before being covered in inked networks of lines. These, in turn, are washed, treated with heat, drawn upon once more, the process repeated until the original image is transformed to the limits of recogntion.

The juxtaposition, or superimposition of reality and pure abstraction, could be said to be a treatment of both the macroscopic – city planning, infrastructure, satellite imagery – and microscopic – traces, remnants, of individual life. In Uncertain Traces — Comments on Mapping in-between Order and Randomness, a new series made for Mapping structures – explored from a distance, Langhelle has abandoned the photographic altogether (except from the actual photo paper), thereby distilling the creative process down to the purely material, emphasizing qualities pertaining to artistic control versus tumultuous physical conditions, giving rise to a unique color spectrum as well as cracks and bulges in the paper – a topography guiding the flow of rivers of ink. By removing the photographic references (even though they were never easily recognizable, obscured by layers of cracks and ink), Langhelle shifts his focus to these layers of material interactions, possible interpretations and ways of perception.

Kirkebø’s cityscapes, on the other hand, manifest as futuristic fantasies of a dystopian world, bringing to mind the cold societal structures of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and George Lucas’ THX 1138. Here, people are faceless, featureless, seemingly going about their daily routine without complaint nor joy – a notable exception being one unfortunate suicide which goes by rather unnoticed in the artist’s book Walkthrough (2015). These are futurescapes where architecture seems to be reduced, or distilled, into modules moulded to fit the needs of the masses, and the masses moulded to fit into their modules. The system is rigid, but a closer look will reveal the hand-drawn quality of the line.

The title Walkthrough is a reference to guides for beating video games. In computer games, especially concerning the 90's era, one talks about two kinds of bird's eye views of the in-game world: isometric and top-down perspective. The isometric (projections of three-dimensional space on a flat surface where the world is seen at a slight angle, tilted towards the horizon so to speak, while elements remain the same scale even towards this «horizon»), as seen in classic tactical games such as Syndicate (1993) and UFO: Enemy Unknown (1994) (two of Kirkebø's early influences), could be viewed as a modern heritage of the shifts in perspective sometimes apparent in Chinese hand scrolls depicting urban environments. The top-down perspective, where the depicted world is seen from straight above, at a right angle, brings to mind the early abstractions of Kazimir Malevich's proto-colour field paintings such as Suprematist Composition: Airplane Flying (1915) – a far more fitting reference for Langhelle's Uncertain Maps and Uncertain Traces, which are in part influenced by phenomenon such as Google Maps and Google Earth depicting the surface of our planet by satellite imagery, than the apparent visual similarity to Jackson Pollock’s dripster painting. Langhelle’s images could, akin to Wassily Kandinsky’s non-representational painting, be thought of as intermediaries between the inner and outer world: the inner explored from the outer, and vice versa – from a distance.

The art – the creative process and resulting images alike – of Langhelle and Kirkebø both possess a contemplative quality at their core. Langhelle enters a sort of meditative state, an intuitive, nearly non-thinking flow, while working on his pictures. The resulting patterns – requiring intensive work, editing and repetition – bring to mind both street maps and neural networks, lines intertwined with lines which often seem to be frozen in the midst of a choreographed set of movements. The rhythm flows organically, but is certainly also tight – as the artist himself puts it: It has to swing. But the patterns are in no way calculated – they arise, organically, arbitrarily and fluently, like synaptic connections of the brain or asphalt around housing blocks. Kirkebø also “dances in chains”, as Nietzsche said about the abundant inspiration offered to the old poets by imposing constraints on themselves.  His Isometric Structures start out from the setting up of rulers and compasses. Thus, the stage – of paper – is set for the artist's hand to get to work. The process is fluid, where – akin to what comics writer Alan Moore once said in an interview about the inspiration for writing coming out of the act of writing – the drawing “grows” out of itself, line by line, room after room, building to building. In Isometric Structures, the artist is the intuitive creator, and omniscience is bestowed by Him upon the viewer.

The subtitle of Langhelle’s work – Comments on Mapping in-between Order and Randomness – seems to provide a key of sorts to the decryption of the collaboration at hand. The ancient Chinese sages created the I Ching, a divinatory system involving the throwing of sticks and the subsequent interpretation of the incidental result, because they believed that random events – due to the very fact that they are devoid of apparent, instant, inherent meaning – may reveal deeper truths. Even though the structures they map out are explored from a distance, the art of Aage Langhelle and Kay Arne Kirkebø demands a closer look. Your patient glance may be well rewarded.

Rasmus Hungnes. Editor-in-chief, KUNSTforum

bild1

Total Monument. Kay Arne Kirkebø 2016.

Cubecity

Cubecity. Kay Arne Kirkebø 2015.

5N8A1635 kopi

Uncertain Traces — Comments on Mapping in-between Order and Randomness. Tusche auf Fotopapier, 106x145 cm. 

Uncertain Traces — Comments on Mapping in-between Order and Randomness. Tusche auf Foto. 21x28 cm.

 

5N8A1634 kopi

Uncertain Traces — Comments on Mapping in-between Order and Randomness. Ink on Photopaper, 106x145 cm. 

Mapping structures – explored from a distance

Exhibition with Kay Arne Kirkebø and Aage Langhelle

Curator Rasmus Hungnes

 

As it first meets the eye, the art of Kay Arne Kirkebø and the art of Aage Langhelle may strike the beholder as fundamentally different. Kirkebø's clean black and white cityscapes contain an impressive amount of detail, radiate a great abundance of control. Langhelle's chaotic, colorful painterly abstractions rest upon paper which has apparently taken a heavy beating, where errant lines and smudged ink weave into each other in webs of erratic, seemingly random pathways. But still, both artists chose the other as artistic reflections of their own work for a series of exhibitions, of which Mapping structures – explored from a distance constitutes the first. And as it turns out upon closer examination of their œuvres, unexpected similarities rise to the surface.

The most readily apparent common denominator is the representational navigation of urban life. Kirkebø, in the series Isometric Structures, draws maps of constructed manifestations of the imagination. While his game world-like maps are indisputably figurative, the real-world references within Langhelle's ongoing series are far more abstract. Langhelle has long dealt with notions of urbanity, often focusing on minute details, the unnoticed, the seemingly insignificant constituents of city life.

His series Uncertain Traces — Comments on Mapping in-between Order and Randomness is an evolution of Uncertain Maps, a body of work where photos of details from the urban scene are used as the starting point. Aage Langhelle´s photographic practice, as seen in Uncertain Maps, documents objects – such as birdhouses, discarded furniture, scarves hung from branches and lamp posts by protesters to commemorate victims of violent clashes, water bowls for dogs – left by Berliners on the street – non-verbal acts of communication articulated through miniature interventions in public space. These snapshots of the urban microcosm are printed onto photo paper, before being covered in inked networks of lines. These, in turn, are washed, treated with heat, drawn upon once more, the process repeated until the original image is transformed to the limits of recogntion.

The juxtaposition, or superimposition of reality and pure abstraction, could be said to be a treatment of both the macroscopic – city planning, infrastructure, satellite imagery – and microscopic – traces, remnants, of individual life. In Uncertain Traces — Comments on Mapping in-between Order and Randomness, a new series made for Mapping structures – explored from a distance, Langhelle has abandoned the photographic altogether (except from the actual photo paper), thereby distilling the creative process down to the purely material, emphasizing qualities pertaining to artistic control versus tumultuous physical conditions, giving rise to a unique color spectrum as well as cracks and bulges in the paper – a topography guiding the flow of rivers of ink. By removing the photographic references (even though they were never easily recognizable, obscured by layers of cracks and ink), Langhelle shifts his focus to these layers of material interactions, possible interpretations and ways of perception.

Kirkebø’s cityscapes, on the other hand, manifest as futuristic fantasies of a dystopian world, bringing to mind the cold societal structures of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and George Lucas’ THX 1138. Here, people are faceless, featureless, seemingly going about their daily routine without complaint nor joy – a notable exception being one unfortunate suicide which goes by rather unnoticed in the artist’s book Walkthrough (2015). These are futurescapes where architecture seems to be reduced, or distilled, into modules moulded to fit the needs of the masses, and the masses moulded to fit into their modules. The system is rigid, but a closer look will reveal the hand-drawn quality of the line.

The title Walkthrough is a reference to guides for beating video games. In computer games, especially concerning the 90's era, one talks about two kinds of bird's eye views of the in-game world: isometric and top-down perspective. The isometric (projections of three-dimensional space on a flat surface where the world is seen at a slight angle, tilted towards the horizon so to speak, while elements remain the same scale even towards this «horizon»), as seen in classic tactical games such as Syndicate (1993) and UFO: Enemy Unknown (1994) (two of Kirkebø's early influences), could be viewed as a modern heritage of the shifts in perspective sometimes apparent in Chinese hand scrolls depicting urban environments. The top-down perspective, where the depicted world is seen from straight above, at a right angle, brings to mind the early abstractions of Kazimir Malevich's proto-colour field paintings such as Suprematist Composition: Airplane Flying (1915) – a far more fitting reference for Langhelle's Uncertain Maps and Uncertain Traces, which are in part influenced by phenomenon such as Google Maps and Google Earth depicting the surface of our planet by satellite imagery, than the apparent visual similarity to Jackson Pollock’s dripster painting. Langhelle’s images could, akin to Wassily Kandinsky’s non-representational painting, be thought of as intermediaries between the inner and outer world: the inner explored from the outer, and vice versa – from a distance.

The art – the creative process and resulting images alike – of Langhelle and Kirkebø both possess a contemplative quality at their core. Langhelle enters a sort of meditative state, an intuitive, nearly non-thinking flow, while working on his pictures. The resulting patterns – requiring intensive work, editing and repetition – bring to mind both street maps and neural networks, lines intertwined with lines which often seem to be frozen in the midst of a choreographed set of movements. The rhythm flows organically, but is certainly also tight – as the artist himself puts it: It has to swing. But the patterns are in no way calculated – they arise, organically, arbitrarily and fluently, like synaptic connections of the brain or asphalt around housing blocks. Kirkebø also “dances in chains”, as Nietzsche said about the abundant inspiration offered to the old poets by imposing constraints on themselves.  His Isometric Structures start out from the setting up of rulers and compasses. Thus, the stage – of paper – is set for the artist's hand to get to work. The process is fluid, where – akin to what comics writer Alan Moore once said in an interview about the inspiration for writing coming out of the act of writing – the drawing “grows” out of itself, line by line, room after room, building to building. In Isometric Structures, the artist is the intuitive creator, and omniscience is bestowed by Him upon the viewer.

The subtitle of Langhelle’s work – Comments on Mapping in-between Order and Randomness – seems to provide a key of sorts to the decryption of the collaboration at hand. The ancient Chinese sages created the I Ching, a divinatory system involving the throwing of sticks and the subsequent interpretation of the incidental result, because they believed that random events – due to the very fact that they are devoid of apparent, instant, inherent meaning – may reveal deeper truths. Even though the structures they map out are explored from a distance, the art of Aage Langhelle and Kay Arne Kirkebø demands a closer look. Your patient glance may be well rewarded.

Rasmus Hungnes. Editor-in-chief, KUNSTforum

bild1

Total Monument. Kay Arne Kirkebø 2016.

Cubecity

Cubecity. Kay Arne Kirkebø 2015.

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Uncertain Traces — Comments on Mapping in-between Order and Randomness. Ink on Photopaper, 106x145 cm. 

 

Aage Langhelle has been working for a long time with processed photography where the documentary photographic elements are gradually being disturbed and painted over until they become completely or partially abstract works of art. One example is the series Uncertain Maps.

In Uncertain Traces one can see a painted network of lines where the photo paper is the only photographic reference.

Through the means of ink and hand movements, Langhelle is creating an organic map between order and randomness. In the pictures, simple contrastive pairs are being relieved by multiple possible connections. Random order is mixing with ordered randomness.

In an overall perspective, one can regard many of Langhelle’s projects as artistic investigations into cultural as well as natural systems and structures. Natural structures that arise during the work process itself can be seen in the series Uncertain Maps. Informal and formal structures are emerging as cultural systems in urban space and society in the series Layers of Space and Layers of Space 2017.

Concept, content and formal aspects are sought to be tightly intertwined into a whole in each art work, as well as in the connection between the works.

The goal is pictures that are operating on various levels, a form of abstract poetry.

 

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900


Order and unease
In the renaissance, a grid was used as an aid for accurately replicating a motif. The artist looked through a grid to help him measure precisely the distance between different points in a picture. Aage Langhelle's most orderly woven pictures demonstrate a similar rigidity; even so, they deviate from it in that not one, but two motifs are chopped into squares, blended together and are thereby fragmented. The grid serves the purpose of spreading the photographic motif over the surface as well as acting as a starting point for disrupting the photograph's referentiality. In this process there is room for both rigid adherence to structure (weaving without sidestepping) and for playing imaginative games with the weaving technique. Langhelle does not approach the photographic material with deference, but rather uses it as a starting point for experimenting with visual perception, and in the extention of this, for contemplation of the photograph as a medium.

The woven pictures are made up of photographs cut up into strips then woven together. Two motifs can be interwoven quite mechanically: one up, one down until both pictures are filtered into each other in a regular pattern across the whole surface. The cutout windows that emerge of the individual motif lie flickering on the borderline between the referential and the concrete/abstract - the eye searches for a motif, but the grainy disruption of the motif into squares hampers the unproblematic connection to a reference. The two motifs compete for attention. One can decide to see the one, or the other. A portrait, for instance, or a building site.

In other pictures Langhelle departs from a systematic approach in favour of a more random order. Playing with the ornamental takes the upper hand, and the motifs are broken up into strips and squares. In contrast to the more mechanically woven pictures, it seems here that aesthetic considerations have played a part as the weaving proceeds, as if to achieve particular visual effects. A moulding force, individual elements become visible when specific patterns emerge, rythm and decoration seem to have been consciously shaped. The effect of depth in the ornamentation, the repetitions of colour and a certain way of doing it - a knack - are more reminiscent of manual weaving techniques rather than the grid as a visual measuring tool.

The visual confusion that is brought about by the pictures is similar to what happens when we think about an incident that took place some time back. The intensity, the need to remember exactly what happened, makes the memory fade. The details slip out of our grasp. In the end we don't know whether what we remember really happened, or whether we made it up. The very act of recall adds so many alterations to the incident that it is hardly the same event any longer. Our impression of the past cannot escape being affected by a moulding force, trying to fit the incidents into certain structures. The image we recall is both detracted from and added to in the process of recollection.

Langhelle unites two extremes when he transforms the photographs into an interwoven grid pattern, a sectioning that stands in contrast to everything a photograph is considered to be. According to Rosalind Krauss the grid mesh is non-narrative: it acts as a self-sufficient, aesthetic set of rules and relates only to itself. The photograph, on the other hand, is by definition referential, in that it always incorporates traces of what was in front of the lens at the moment of exposure. It invites us to engage in just the kind of thought processes that the grid does not encourage. Both narrative and metaphor, sequential study and the referential, are set in motion. In the interwoven pictures there is in a kind of way a crossover of these two opposites: of the grid mesh as autonymous and non-referential, and the photograph as narrative and referential. The mesh begins to refer to itself as a shaping force, and the photograph disintegrates as a reference.

A photograph is always an image of the past; the moment of exposure is back in time, and looking at a photograph therefore always means looking at a bygone visual impression. When the photographic image here is exposed to various structural forces, it no longer has an external reference, it refers just as much to itself as an aesthetic or material object. One picture overlaps or is combined with another; it is subjected to manipulation and alteration. By working with it the motif disintegrates as an object, it is not presented as anything which seems to be whole or real.

A similar combination and transgression of opposites in one and the same picture can be seen in a series of photographs of plants. Here the systematic approach is already in place as the picture of the motif is taken: the plants are set in the ground in some kind of system; the theme is groups of plants in gardens and flower beds at different spots in the city. The similarity with the interwoven pictures can be found in that here, too, there is a certain order that has been imposed on something that already exists - in this case not on a motif, but on an organism. And again it is up to the observer to choose his focus - to see the system, or deviation from the system. Movement is created between the systematic and the individual motif/organism.

The distinction between what is a system and what is the difference from order, is not always easy to determine. The plants themselves are cultivated, and they adhere just as much to their inherent predetermined plan as to the planting grid imposed upon them. We are dealing here with structures on several levels and of varying sizes that mutually comment on and compete with one another.

The woven pictures can be perceived as playing games with and contemplation of the grid meshs potential - visually in the way the pictures combine, are distorted and interact. Games are also played with the three-dimensional modelling. The expression changes from a woven surface to a woven tube or folded pleat. The pictures assume the nature of an object, they become three-dimensional objects, things. At exhibitions they are often displayed in a group: woven pictures rest on a shelf, not fixed to the wall, and other objects are often displayed alongside them. There are objects with a thematic hint, such as cowboy romanticism, boyish dreams, horses, a touch of homosexuality - eroticism. There may be personal objects like a dressing gown, a clothes brush, pictures of body parts. The woven pictures are lifted out of a purely introverted artistic discourse (referentiality versus grid mesh) into a more private, autbiographical or personally related story. Focus dissolves and is scattered into the fragmentary, associative.

A similar fragmentation can be experienced when constantly changing the angle of approach, the work method, and migration between forms of presentation, which Langhelle insists upon both while work is in progress and when exhibiting the completed works. The most systematic, finely meshed photographs in particular could be perfectly suited to a monumental staging; they incorporate both a strict order that emits authority, and they limit themselves to a narrowly defined technical area. But instead of holding on to this, they pull away. The pictures are likely to be casually displayed on a shelf, the hand-weaving is too irregular to meet minimalistic requirements, and the number of pieces moves the centre of gravity from one work to an associative series, to transfers and constant testing. One idea generates the next, and instead of marking out an area that is Langhelle by signature, the scene is always in flux. Rather than settling in one place, the pictures indicate ways to move forward.

As an anti-monumental work, or work in progress, the pieces can both irritate and fascinate. Irritate because they don't fulfil the need for open-and shut answers, they don't provide an indisputable truth; fascinate because they always allow for another possibility, a new connection. Simple opposites are succeeded by multiple potential correlations.

Ingvill Henmo is an art critic and editor of the Norwegian art journal Billedkunst. She is educated as an artist and literary critic.


900-3

 

uncertain maps

 

Maps to Negotiate With

Aage Langhelle has, in several projects, concerned himself directly with the all-encompassing but fundamentally unsettled position of images and their possibilities, but also deficiencies as guiding maps for clear and logic manoeuvring. Langhelle relates togeographical maps and street maps, but also to more diffuse mental maps. These maps have their blind spots, but can also tell us something we need to know, such as the following: An unlimited number of images already exist which we can reproduce and process in the foreseeable future.

An All-Encompassing Optic

The theoretician W. J. T. Mitchell is one of those trying to create a nuanced optic for this visual horn of plenty. He has long been occupied with the power and mythos of images in a culture dominated by images, visual simulations, stereotypes, illusions, copies and reproductions. Mitchell is pointing out a general attitude that indicates that spectators are easily manipulated by these images. A clever use of them can lead people to accept e.g. racism, sexual discrimination and class barriers as natural conditions. As technology and mass media become more and more absorbing and provide us with a fully covering screen through which we conceive the world, the role of images as an awareness-raising tool is tightened a few notches more. We accept what we see and what the images tell us, with certain exceptions. The ideological guidance often incorporated in images, requires an analytical approach; they are also political. In societies that claim their values to be democratic, it is worth looking closer into what representation really means.[1]

A strongmanifestationof the totality of the digitalised visual world is the image technology of the Internet company Google — Google Maps and Google Earth — the latter being a globe program where you can view detailed satellite and aerial photos of planet earth. In addition, one can see landscapes and buildings in 3D. The experience of this digital copy of the world which we like to see as infinite and impossible to comprisecompletely, is in many ways overwhelming. This constructed, fixed space is close to realistic; if you look up, you’ll see the starry sky arching over the civilization, which is being mapped bit by bit. According to a press release from Google Earth Anomalies, Google Earth might have discovered so far unknown pyramids in Egypt[2], and the technology has allegedly been used by people to find lost family members[3]. Despite the intrusive impact of technology — on screen this world is highly navigable and manageable. The digital maps also create the basis for the navigation system GPS.In Google Street View, which is part of the company’s map system, one can “wander” around the streets and map shops and restaurants all over the world. The physical and economical boundaries the user meets in real life are easily leapfrogged with a keystroke. In Google’s image technology the subjective perception is replaced by the objective — a generic image, made of an infinite number, represents the world’s existence through an enormous collage we already take for granted.

Reroutings

Aage Langhelle’s projects Uncertain Maps (2012) and Whiteout Maps (2013) surfaced in the wake of the discussion around Google’s detailed images of urban spaces. The systematic depiction of urbanity and landscape represents to many a widespread surveillance unparalleled in history, and also comprises military considerations. How much of a security risk does this adaptedtechnology constitute? To Langhelle, Google becomes a symbol of a type of surveillance that is epidemic; the digital technology makes it possible to massively monitor humans and human activities. Google’s finely meshed net is laid over society and the urban space, thus making the individual become very exposed.

Langhelle started the process of Uncertain Maps with an abstracted excerpt of billboards in the cityscape. Black or white drawing ink is added to it by hand, which floats out over the surface in an organic play, partly uncontrolled. This new image space is then digitalized. Whiteout Maps is based on the same work method as Uncertain Maps, but the photo paper has white, open areas.

The title Whiteout Maps refers to a meteorological phenomenon where our vision is reduced by snow or sand; white areas form, the horizon disappears and the standard sense of direction is disturbed. The figurative, effortless flow is blocked out and emphasises itself as a statement. A parallel arises to a driving situation where the GPS is not able to update itself fast enough, and the system also falls out where the area is not photographically mapped. These are conceptual loopholes, which make the standardised manoeuvring more difficult. One can either drive off the road or find one’s own alternative routes.

Both series show as a result the technical grid of photography and the freer, expressive patterns of the ink, which also elucidate the work process. A general and commercially influenced starting point is being countered by more distinct lines, which form an idiosyncratic and individual expression.

Registration of Visual Tracks

If one presupposes that photography per definition is recording a given reality, one might say that Aage Langhelle, in this operation from the mechanical to the manual, is placing a subjective layer over an objective motif. This motif is taken from public space, captured by a camera. Photography is traditionally linked to referentiality. It shows that which at a given moment was present in front of the camera lens. Its story, as a witness to a moment that now has passed, has been challenged by Langhelle in several interwoven pictures comprising photographs that have been intertwined in a tight grid. The grid’s formal autonomy, which only references itself, creates an imbalance in the referential balance sheet, within which the photograph is systemised.

Langhelle’s image space is removing itself from its referential starting point and demonstrates that photography always will be a space for negotiations between different characters and wills, figurative and conceptual. Its claimed neutrality and clear causality haslong been problematized, not least as a result of linguistic and semiotic theories, and became, with the digitalisation, even more unusable as characterisation. Also, a pure recording of visuality assumes a selection, and the silenced excerpt, whose initial information has been pushed into the background, is being used to achieve something, if only a meaning-bearing expression.

In certain ways, both Uncertain Maps and Whiteout Maps are dealing with the current position of photography as a complex medium, squeezed between artistic recognition and specialisation on one side and the image flow of everyday life on the other. Photographs are very easily accessible through Internet, not least as a base for further visual production. To a certain degree this enormous selection makes the camera redundant. Google’s search engines present the images we search for in a flash,systemised by theme. The material processing of photography that Langhelle’s two series represent is, in that respect, resolute in its expression — they insist on a genuine presence in the free play of the ink. Even though they are photographed, they indicate a strong tactility, like visual traces that area result of the layering of effects.

An Art Historical Loop

Aage Langhelle’s way of handling the ink, which seems hurled on the surface in generous movements, shows a stylistic similarity to the abstract expressionists, first and foremost Jackson Pollock’s drip paintings, with his gestural grandeur, his sweep of paint and his primitivist inspiration. The organic overlapping and the potential infinite continuations outside the canvas are reformulated by Langhelle into stricter, more limited units, but the oil-like dance on the surface is still given free rein. The digitalised standardisation, which Langhelle is criticising, is here meeting its complete opposite. The creative charge of the surface, the autonomous quivering of the luminous colour strands, which seem to have been formed through pure experimental desire, still only exist as a photograph. In a way this contradicts the dictum of abstract modernism, which called upon the necessity for a direct experience. The viewer was supposed to move in front of the big canvases and experience the paintings over time as a rhythmic symphony. Langhelle short-circuits this presence and this slowness with his more forthright photographs. The reformulation of abstract expressionism in contemporary times is therefore based upon a paradox — this was art that resisted reproduction, but which is still the perfect monumental museum art, at a safe distance from the untidy reality of public space.

Langhelle’s expressiveness is incorporated as a formal effect amongst several possible — it assumes the character of a quote of a signature style. Where the abstract expressionists wished to create a fresh start for art, an American enterprise as a response to the European ruins after the Second World War, the historical moment is, in Langhelle’s work, open for free interpretation as a formal experiment, a critique or a homage. The visual codes of Uncertain Maps and Whiteout Maps maycarry a romantic longing for the individual, existential expression — as it once was idealised. The canvas became a surface to act on, an active, energetic area that cultivated traces of dynamic processes and bodily gestures. The power language was found in the artistic action, not in the narrativity that each work might have the potential for. Langhelle lets the pictures rather tell a story about other pictures, about their qualities as illusions and ideals — as fortifications of power and necessary gaps in a tightly woven matrix of information and control. It seems impossible to tame the image completely; it is as if images have their own will and agenda outside of our longing for meaning and coherence when interacting with them. Even photography can express a desire for material presence.

Pictures in the Street Grid

Characteristic for Aage Langhelle’s production is an orientation towards public spaces. He is preoccupied with how visualities take shape in the urban space, which also includes a broad spectrum of social and cultural spaces. The public space as a place that is open and visible, a stage for free speech, outside the corridors of power, is a model that constantly has to be argued for. In practice, divergent interests are fighting each other, and the visual is used purely instrumentally as a pry bar for attention.

Langhelle has, in several earlier projects, had a closer look into communication and transactions in the cityscape, such as in DHL, where he followed and photographed cars from the big international logistics company DHL for a few months. The photo series is thematically tied to the work Whiteout Maps inthat the pictures are signalising surveillance. Here we see drivers, close-ups of GPS systems, and parcels delivered to German addresses. Langhelle is sticking to them as a leech, in pure detective style. He depicts something that initially seems completely innocent, but at the same time is informing about an economical image of time. What is being delivered, to whom and at what price? All this remains unanswered.

Langhelle has, in the photographic installation Layers of space (2013),documented objects and communication in Berlin — small human traces each tell its history – objects placed on the street for free pick up, birdcages or rags in a tree. An investigation into the visual imprints and underlying ideology of our everyday surroundings can also be found in the work DDR — Alexanderplatz from 2003. Here Langhelle is looking into how changing values are being expressed in logos — in the span between standard market-oriented commercialism and propaganda. Placed in a Berlin subway station for the U2 line at Alexanderplatz, the work can be seen as a commentary on Germany’s clearly conflicted recent history. Langhelle changed the abbreviation for the old name of Eastern Germany (Deutsche Demokratische Republik, here also shown as “ddr” in small letters, as if to underline that this state is forever dissolved and diminutive) into a logo on commercial billboards. The trademark appears to advertise for any article of consumption. We seem to recognise, in 32 different graphic shapes, design elements from beer labels, clothing brands and such, and the logos are generally colourful and modern.

Here Langhelle is dealing with an industry based on nostalgia or “ostalgia”, which, particularly in the beginning of the 21st century, gave the German consumers an increase in typical DDR products. After the dissolution in 1990, a loss, or at the same time an inadequacy, was profiled through concrete goods with a heavy symbolic, as pulled out of a time pocket. Langhelle is acting within the new Germany and points to saleability as one of the main motors of the European superpower. The logo does, in this respect, become a tool that is signalizing a dynamic development within the capitalist system, but through Langhelle it also becomes an empty casing ripped of genuine substance — a template. At the same time, Langhelle’s art as an artistic expression of Berlin in 2003, a time when artists came swarming to the city from everywhere, also becomes an expression for the creative, free expression that has turned into the trademark of Berlin.

Clarifying urban mechanisms and calling attention to the fine line between genuine content and subsequent empty branding — a mechanised reflex in our culture — seems to be a general strategy for Langhelle. He has, amongst other things, looked into the relationship between politically motivated graffiti and advertisement posters in the work Collateral Image. The title refers to a metaphor for accidents or unintended injuries following military actions. Here Langhelle sabotaged adverts by adding graffiti, which had been photographed earlier in the cityscape of Berlin. Several weeks could pass before these picture fragments were removed from the adverts. This postulated violence towards the image is being stuffed down the throat of the capitalist message, simultaneously as the graffiti also becomes an interfering visual element, placed as a wedge into new contexts.

The original message of the images is destabilised, both the one that is professionally forged together to sell and the one that is by definition individual and in opposition, and the direct message is being tampered with. Commerce and underground are adhered to each other. The expressions influence each other mutually and remain unclean and composite. This activism, which makes use of the images we are inevitably surrounded by, only to intertwine them into new and unknown dimensions, is characteristic of Langhelle’s art. The prefabricated images are given a chance — without insisting on an unambiguous message. They become carriers of a fundamental unclearness which we all must relate to. Aage Langhelle uses the images as experimental maps of a diffuse landscape, like rebuses that cannot be solved. As viewers, we simply have to negotiate between the ideological extremities of the images.
Line Ulekleiv
Line Ulekleiv, born 1974, is a Norwegian art historian. She works as a writer, art critic and editor. Ulekleiv mainly writes for Klassekampen, Kunstkritikk and Billedkunst. From 2005-2011 she wrote also for MorgenbladetShe has also been editor for many publications, such as KORO, Nasjonale turistveger og Kunstårboken. Ulekleiv works also at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts.


[1] W. J. T. Mitchell, Picture Theory, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago/London, 1994, S. 2-6. Deutsche Ausgabe: Bildtheorie, hrsg. von G. Frank, Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt/Berlin, 2008

 

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"Aage Langhelle´s photographic installation does not only document the variety of birdhouses, water bowls for dogs or things that have been placed on the street to take away for free, but examines the owners creative ways of communication in the urban space. The invisible is made visible. The intervention in the public space turns into an identification mark but also into objects to dispute on." Kurator Harald Theiss


The Installation was part of a Groupexhibition in Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, Berlin

between appropriation and interventions
realities - conditions - standards - positions - transformation

Artists: Isabelle Arthuis (BE/FR), Sebastian Denz (DE), Larissa Fassler (CAN), Philipp Fürhofer (DE), Cyprien Gaillard (FR), Christine de la Garenne (DE), Tamara Grcic (DE), Eva Grubinger (A), Mattias Härenstam (SE), Moritz Hirsch (DE), Carsten Höller (DE), Noel Jabbour (PS), Christina Kubisch (DE), Aage Langhelle (NO), Nicolas Moulin (FR), Nina Mücke (DE), Grazia Toderi (IT), Andreas Sell (DE), Mona Vatamanu & Florin Tudor (RO), Corine Vermeulen (NL/USA)

What does it imply to appropriate something? How relevant are not only public spaces but also social and cultural spaces? In which manner do the processes of appropriation occur and how important are perceptions, actions or interpretations in this connection?
The space coming into action is both a relational, socially constructed space and an objective public space. As a result of the society’s economic production and due to its existing structures and infrastructural arrangements, the space offers a possibility for appropriation or forms a barrier for the protagonists. This scope or payload space is characterized by a constant duality i.e. the relation between the individual and the society, which is reflected in this space, changing it by the process of appropriation. Thus something is interfused actively instead of being adopted in a passive manner. „To appropriate“ doesn’t simply mean to utilize, but also to modify and to form. Simultaneously this leads to a transformation of space and the individual. Both are changed by the process of appropriation. The imposed and the newly created conditions are forming a platform or rather an area of conflict with different interactions. The exhibition space between
appropriation and interventions and the invited artists not simply intend to arrange this room with art but also like to examine the overall relation between what is predetermined and what can be shaped. The contrasting works in the exhibition highlight a wide range of artistic positions which, based on an interdisciplinary discourse, may illustrate the familiar in a different way and encourage the viewer to think beyond the existing.
Kurator Harald Theiss

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Aage Langhelle got the idea for this project in conjunction with the discussion about Google's detailed photographs of urban space. He begins by pouring ink over the abstract cutout of a photo from the urban space. Afterwards he takes a photo of the image. The result is a photo based on the technical grid of the photographies and the ink's expressive organic forms. «Map» refers to a geographic map and a street map but also to a mental map.

Uncertain Maps was part of the Groupexhibition Material matters in prinz-georg // raum für kunst in october/november 2012. More information:prinz-georg.com

 
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"Aage Langhelle´s photographic installation does not only document the variety of birdhouses, water bowls for dogs or things that have been placed on the street to take away for free, but examines the owners creative ways of communication in the urban space. The invisible is made visible. The intervention in the public space turns into an identification mark but also into objects to dispute on."


The Installation was part of a Groupexhibition in Christianssands Artsociety october 2011:
between appropriation and interventions
realities - conditions - standards - positions - transformation

Participating artists: Isabelle Arthuis (BE/FR), Sebastian Denz (DE), Larissa Fassler (CAN), Philipp Fürhofer (DE), Eva Grubinger (A), Mattias Härenstam (SE), Moritz Hirsch (DE), Carsten Höller (DE), Noel Jabbour (PS), Christina Kubisch (DE), Aage Langhelle (NO), Jannicke Låker (NO), Nina Mücke (DE), Andreas Sell (DE), Grazia Toderi (IT) Mona Vatamanu & Florin Tudor (RO), Corinne Vermeulen (NL/USA

What does it imply to appropriate something? How relevant are not only public spaces but also social and cultural spaces? In which manner do the processes of appropriation occur and how important are perceptions, actions or interpretations in this connection?
The space coming into action is both a relational, socially constructed space and an objective public space. As a result of the society’s economic production and due to its existing structures and infrastructural arrangements, the space offers a possibility for appropriation or forms a barrier for the protagonists. This scope or payload space is characterized by a constant duality i.e. the relation between the individual and the society, which is reflected in this space, changing it by the process of appropriation. Thus something is interfused actively instead of being adopted in a passive manner. „To appropriate“ doesn’t simply mean to utilize, but also to modify and to form. Simultaneously this leads to a transformation of space and the individual. Both are changed by the process of appropriation. The imposed and the newly created conditions are forming a platform or rather an area of conflict with different interactions.
The exhibition space between appropriation and interventions and the invited artists not simply intend to arrange this room with art but also like to examine the overall relation between what is predetermined and what can be shaped. The contrasting works in the exhibition highlight a wide range of artistic positions which, based on an interdisciplinary discourse, may illustrate the familiar in a different way and encourage the viewer to think beyond the existing.

Curated by Harald Theiss
www.haraldtheiss.de

Art Critic in Ferdelandsvennen as PDF (NO)

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With Collateral Image , Langhelle is examinating the relation between politically motivated graffiti on one side and advertising posters and commercial products on the other. Among others we see photos that Langhelle took in Berlin. Using a rather physical process, he manipulates the advertising message by adding graffiti to them. He takes pictures of graffiti which he finds in the urban space, cutting them into pieces and pasting certain details upon posters or objects. Sometimes, it takes weeks before theses pictures are removed from the advertising posters again. Thus he's focussing on two questions: What effect does this double message have and who gets a chance to speak in the public space?
The photos are portrays of the polarization in public space. Langhelle is melting together the end points and investigates the repercussion. In two of his works, this is a physical process: the photos are literally woven into eachother.
The exhibition's title refers to the term collateral damage . This expression originally was used as an euphemism for accidents or unintended damages that result from military actions. Langhelle regards his artwork as a way of artistic actionism.
In most cases, graffiti is an illegal form of expression, used by young people in the underground ambiance who simply don't have means to convey their messages by advertising, or who just don't want to contribute to any commercialization of society. They accuse the bourgeoisie of controlling mainstream media and thus excluding any radical or alternative opinion. Nevertheless, politically motivated graffiti and commercial advertising try to achieve a common purpose: communicating a message as direct as possible.
The artist roamed his immediate neighbourhood, taking picturs of what he saw. People working with graffiti also operate in their close neighbourhood, often in a range of 3-4 kilometers. In this way, the exhibition literally represents a personal walk through Berlin.

Daniella van Dijk-Wennberg
Curator Oslo Museum
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Der gewebte Blick - zu den Flechtbildern und 
Flechtobjekten von Aage Langhelle

Isländisch Moos
Das Isländisch Moos (Centraria islandica) wächst in lockeren oder dichten Polstern auf img_projekt_03_01Heiden, Bergweiden und sauren Wäldern von Nord- bis Mitteleuropa. Es zählt zu den wenigen Flechtenarten, die einen deutschen Namen tragen. Die meisten Flechten tragen lediglich lateinische Bezeichnungen. Wieso heißt die Pflanze “Moos” wo sie doch eine Flechte ist?

 

Moose und Flechten
In den Kräuterbüchern wurden Flechten bis zum Beginn des 18. Jahrhunderts zu den img_projekt_03_02Moosen gerechnet. Das Worte “Flechte” trat zunächst im Zusammenhang mit Frisierkunst, nämlich mit der Haarflechte auf. Später erst übertrug sich das Wort auf die Pflanze und schließlich auf die Krankheit.

 

 

Pilze und Algen
Im Jahr 1869 stellte der Schweizer Botaniker Simon Schwendener (1829-1919) fest, daß Flechten aus zweiimg_projekt_03_03 eigenständigen Lebewesen bestehen, nämlich aus Pilzen und Algen. Die Symbiose versetzt sie in die Lage, auf Standorten zu gedeihen, die sie alleine nicht hätten besiedeln können. Auf diese Weise sichern sie ihr Überleben selbst in extremsten Biotopen.

Flechten und Fotos
Während bei den Flechten der Pilz von den Algen organische Nährstoffe erhält, ist nicht geklärt ob die Alge im Gegenzug vom Pilz Wasser oder Salze bekommt. Die Flechtbilder und -objekte von Aage Langhelle sind symbiotische Gemeinschaften zwischen Objekt und Bild, wobei sich nicht Bild oder Objekt vereinen, sondern die Symbiose zweier unterschiedlicher Fotos zum Bildobjekt oder Objektbild führen. Dieses besteht aus je zwei Fotografien, die in schmale parallele Streifen geschnitten, miteinander verflochten sind. Ihre Unterschiedlichkeit manifestiert sich im Motiv, nicht im Material: Köpfe von lebenden und toten Menschen, Hauswände, Baugerüste und Baustellen. Zerfall, Rekonstruktion, Aufbau oder Wiederaufbau. Die Auflösung des menschlichen Körpers kann mit Hilfe eines Konservierungsmittels aufgehalten werden. Ergebnis: ein Schrumpfkopf, eine Mumie. In diese Zerfallsbremse flechtet Aage Langhelle eine Baustelle, das Gerippe eines Körpers, der sich noch im Aufbau befindet.

 self-portraitAuch eine Fotografie mumifiziert das Objekt als Abbildung. Während die Motive längst im Grab liegen, gilbt das Fotopapier ganz für sich ein wenig nach. Ist die Haut Basis des Make-Up? Oder ist es der Totenschädel? In den Flechtbildern oder -objekten von Aage Langhelle zerfließen Gegensätze zu einer Form. Innen wird Außen, Außen wird Innen, oben und unten, hinten und vorn, Vergangenheit und Zukunft, Aufbau und Abbau. In regelmäßige Quadrate aufgegliedert, zerbricht der Raum, die Zeit, und damit auch die Sicherheit, an der sich der Betrachter orientieren könnte.

Innen und Außen
Wo befinden sich bei einer Flechte der Pilz und wo die Alge? In den Objektbildern von Aage Langhelle verschlingen sich die Motive solcherart, daß es schwierig wird, die Grundsubstanzen herauszutrennen. Die Verschmelzung der Motive bewirkt jedoch nicht ihre Mystifizierung, sondern bewirkt eher ein Verschwimmen in Unbekanntes. Ergebnis der Konstruktion ist einerseits eine sehr offene, freie und vieldeutige Form, andererseits ein strenges, festes, hermetisches Regelwerk, daß dem Betrachter keinen Ausweg läßt. Man begegnet seinem eigenen.

Haut auf Haut
Die Arbeit des Flechtens ist äußerst mühselig und zeitaufwendig. Das Flechten von Körben ist ein altes Handwerk, img_projekt_03_05welches nur noch von wenigen Menschen ausgeübt wird. In der Berliner Blindenanstalt in der Oranienstraße werden noch heute geflochtene Gebrauchsgegenstände von den blinden Mitarbeitern hergestellt und angeboten. Darüberhinaus werden diverse Bürsten und Besen aus Roßhaar, Sisal und anderen Materialien hergestellt. Eine Bürste taucht auch in einer Installation von Aage Langhelle auf, eine Bürste mit Hautüberzug auf der Griffseite, das Foto einer Hautfläche, dort, wo man das Holz umgreift.

Der Blick aus dem Hinterkopf
Das Sichtbare ist in den Flechtbildern- und -objekten von Aage Langhelle immer das Äußere, die Schale, der Schutzfilm, welches mit seinen Gegensätzen, dem nackten Inneren, dem Skelett, dem Baugerüst oder dem Gehirn, also dem, was von Schichten verdeckt ist, korrespondiert. Beide Elemente sind miteinander verwoben. Ausdruck dieser Verbindung sind unsichtbare, weil verdeckte, aber dennoch vorhandene Bildfelder, die Informationen enthalten, die zu rekonstruieren möglich sind. In der Unentschiedenheit, im Flimmern von mehreren Ebenen sitzen die Augen nicht mehr vorn, sind nicht mehr Sehgerät, sondern schauen durch die Haare am Hinterkopf nach vorn, in sich hinein und durch sich hindurch.


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Rezension in Bergens Tidende als PDF

Wolfgang Müller (geboren 1957 in Wolfsburg) ist Bildender Künstler, Musiker und Schriftsteller. Ausbildung an der Universität der Künste, Berlin. Er war Mitglied in der Band Die Tödliche Doris (1980-87). Müller hatte verschiedene Einzel- und Gruppenausstellungen im In- und Ausland, u.a. im Museum of Modern Art, New York und auf der documenta 8, Kassel (Rahmenprogramm Performance). 2001-02 war er Gastprofessor an der Hochschule für Bildende Künste, Hamburg.

 

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Ordnung und Unruhe

In der Renaissance wurde das Rasternetz als Hilfsmittel verwendet, um ein Motiv genau wiederzugeben. Der Zeichner blickte hindurch und konnte auf diese Weise präzise ausmessen, in welchem Abstand zueinander die verschiedenen Bildpunkte sich befanden.

Eine ähnliche Strenge strahlen die am stärksten geordneten Flechtbilder von Aage Langhelle aus; dennoch besteht insofern ein Unterschied, als nicht ein einzelnes Motiv in lauter Quadrate zerteilt wird, sondern zwei Motive werden miteinander vermischt und dabei aufgelöst. Das geflochtene Gewebe fungiert einerseits als Methode der Verteilung des photographischen Motivs in der Fläche, andererseits als Ausgangspunkt für die Verstärkung der Referentialität der Photographie. In diesem Prozeß haben zugleich strikte Strukturtreue (regelmäßiges Geflecht ohne jeden Seitensprung) und ausgelassenes Spiel mit der Flechttechnik Platz. Langhelle nähert sich dem photographischen Material nicht ehrfürchtig; es dient ihm vielmehr als Ausgangspunkt für seine Experimente mit visueller Wahrnehmung und weiter für Reflexionen rings um die Photographie als Medium.

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Diese Flechtbilder bestehen aus zwei in Streifen geschnittenen und danach zusammengeflochtenen Photographien. Das kann recht mechanisch geschehen, eins auf, eins nieder, bis beide Bilder über die gesamte Bildfläche gleichmäßig miteinander vermischt sind. Die Quadrate, die bei diesem Vorgehen aus dem jeweiligen Motiv entstehen, flimmern an der Grenze zwischen dem Referentiellen und dem Konkret /Abstrakten - das Auge will ein Motiv sehen, doch die grobe Auflösung des Bildes erschwert die Verbindung der Einzelzeile zu einer Referenz. Beide Motive streiten miteinander um unsere Aufmerksamkeit. Man kann beschließen, das eine zu "sehen", das andere nicht. Ein Porträt beispielsweise, aber nicht die Baustelle.

In anderen Bildern verläßt Langhelle diese Systematik zugunsten einer eher zufällig wirkenden Ordnung. Das Spiel mit dem Ornamentalen überwiegt, die Motive werden zu Stabformen und Quadraten aufgelöst. Im Gegensatz zu den eher mechanisch, regelmäßig gewebten Bildern wirkt es, als seien hier während dem Weben ästhetische Erwägungen angestellt worden, vielleicht um bestimmte visuelle Wirkungen zu erzielen. Es gibt eine formende Instanz, das Individuelle wird sichtbar, indem bestimmte Muster hervortreten, Rhythmus und Ornament wirken bewußt gestaltet. Eine perspektivische Wirkung im Ornament, Farbwiederholungen und eine gewisse "Handschrift" lassen eher an manuelle Webtechniken denn an das Netz als visuelles Malwerkzeug denken.

Die visuelle Verwirrung, die von den Bildern in Gang gesetzt wird, ähnelt dem Prozeß, sich an etwas weiter Zurückliegendes zu erinnern. Die Intensität des Bedürfnisses, sich ganz genau daran zu erinnern, was geschehen ist, führt zur Auflösung. Die Details gleiten auseinander. Schließlich weiß man nicht mehr, ob das Erinnerte so geschehen oder ob es ein Konstrukt ist. Die Vergegenwärtigung selbst fügt so viele Details hinzu, daß kaum mehr von demselben Geschehen gesprochen werden kann. Der Rekapitulationsprozeß zerstört das erinnerte Bild zugleich und baut es auf.

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Indem er die Photographien zu geflochtenen Netzen umformt, vermischt Langhelle zwei Gegensätze und schafft eine Einteilung, die im Widerspruch zu allem steht, womit die Photographie gemeinhin verbunden wird. Laut Rosalind Krauss ist das Raster etwas Nicht-Erzählendes; es muß als sich selbst genügende ästhetische Anordnung / Vorschrift angesehen werden, die auf nichts anderes verweist als auf sich selbst. Die Photographie hingegen ist per Defition referentiell, da sie immer Spuren dessen trägt, was sich im Moment der Belichtung vor dem Objektiv befunden hat. Sie lädt zu Denkprozessen ein, welche vom Raster nicht angestoßen werden. Sowohl Erzählung als auch Metaphorik, sequentielles Lesen als auch das Hinweisende, Referentielle werden in Gang gesetzt. Auf diesen Flechtbildern geschieht eine regelrechte Aufhebung ebenso des Rasters als autonome, nichtreferentielle Größe, wie der Photographie als erzählendes, hinweisendes Medium. Das Raster weist nun auf sich selber als formende Instanz hin, der Referenzcharakter der Photographie löst sich auf.

Die Photographie ist stets Abbild eines Vergangenen; der Belichtungsaugenblick liegt zeitlich zurück, und auf einer Photographie sieht man daher immer einen vergangenen visuellen Eindruck. Wenn das photographische Bild hier verschiedenen strukturierenden Eingriffen ausgesetzt wird, fungiert es nicht mehr als referierend, sondern weist ebenso sehr auf sich selber als ästhetischen Gegenstand oder materielles Ding hin. Ein Bild wird dazu gebracht, sich mit einem anderen zu vermischen, sich mit ihm zu überlappen; es wird Manipulation und Veränderung unterzogen. Durch die Bearbeitung wird das Motiv als Gegenstand oder Objekt aufgelöst, es wird nicht mehr als offenkundige Einheit oder etwas Wahres präsentiert.

Eine ähnliche Vermischung und Aufhebung von Gegensätzen auf ein und demselben Bild geschieht auf einer Reihe Photographien von Pflanzen. Hier hatte die Systematik bereits eingegriffen, als das Motiv abphotographiert wurde: Die Pflanzen sind nach einem bestimmten System in die Erde gesetzt worden; es handelt sich um Garten- und Straßenrandbepflanzung an verschiedenen Orten in der Stadt. Die Gemeinsamkeit mit den Flechtbildern besteht darin, daß auch hier etwas bereits Existierendes - kein Motiv in dem Fall, sondern Organismen - in eine bestimmte Ordnung gezwungen wird. Und wieder bleibt es dem Betrachter überlassen, was er eher wahrnehmen möchte - ein System oder die Abweichung davon. Es entstehen Wechselbewegungen zwischen der Systematik und dem individuellen Motiv/Organismus, zwischen Struktur und Unterschied.

Die Scheidelinie zwischen dem System und demjenigen, was von der Ordnung abweicht, ist nicht immer leicht festzulegen. Die Pflanzen sind bereits an sich vom Menschen so gepflanzt und somit nicht nur innewohnenden Gesetzmäßigkeiten, sondern auch dem ihnen auferlegten Pflanzmuster unterworfen. Wir haben Strukturen auf verschiedenen Ebenen vor uns und von verschie dener Größenordnung, die sich gegenseitig kommentieren und miteinander konkurrieren.

Die Flechtbilder lassen sich als Spiel mit und Reflexion über die Möglichkeiten des Rasters sehen, auf der visuellen Ebene, indem die Bilder sich miteinander mischen, einander stören und interagieren. Zugleich findet ein Spiel mit der dreidimensionalen Gestaltung statt. Das Flechtwerk wird von der Fläche zur geflochtenen Röhre oder zum ausgeklappten Folder. Die Bilder gewinnen Objektcharakter, werden zu dreidimensionalen Gegenständen, zu Dingen. Bei Ausstellungen zeigt Langhelle sie gern als zusammengesetzte Gruppe: Die Flechtbilder werden auf ein Regal gestellt, nicht fest an die Wand montiert, und andere Objekte gesellen sich ihnen bei, Gegenstände, die eine Thematik andeuten, zum Beispiel Cowboy-Romantik, Jungenträume, Pferde, Homosexualität oder -erotik. Private Gegenstände können das sein, Morgenmantel, Kleiderbürste, Bilder von Körperteilen. Die Flechtbilder werden aus einem ausschließlich kunstinternen Diskurs (Referentialität versus Raster) herausgelöst und in eine eher private, autobiographische oder persönlich vermittelte Geschichte gestellt.

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Eine ähnliche Auflösung erfolgt durch den ständigen Wechsel von Blickwinkel und Arbeitsweise und durch die Wanderung von einer Präsentationsform zur anderen, etwas, worauf Langhelle sowohl während des Arbeitsprozesses als auch bei der Zurschaustellung der fertigen Arbeiten großen Wert legt. Vor allem die am stärksten systematischen, gerasterten Photographien würden sich hervorragend für eine monumentale Inszenierung eignen: Sie unterliegen einer strengen Ordnung, was ihnen Autorität verleiht, und bleiben auf einem genau begrenzten technischen Gebiet. Doch statt daran festzuhalten, entziehen sie sich. Gern wirft Langhelle sie für eine Ausstellung umstandslos auf ein Regalbrett; das Geflecht ist zu manuell ausgeführt, um den Anforderungen des Minimalismus zu genügen, und die Menge der Arbeiten überträgt die Aufmerksamkeit vom einzelnen "Werk" fort auf die assoziative Serie, auf übergreifende, immer neue Experimente. Die eine Idee gebiert die andere, und statt einen Bezirk auszumeißeln, der durch Signatur als "Langhelle" erkennbar würde, geschieht eine stetige Veränderung. Hier lädt nichts zum Verweilen, zur Ruhe ein, sondern zeigt Möglichkeiten auf, um dann weiter zugehen.

Diese Arbeiten sind antimonumental und "work in progress"; durch beide Eigenschaften sind sie irritierend und faszinierend. Irritierend, weil sie das Bedürfnis nach abschließenden Antworten nicht befriedigen, keine unwidersprochene Wahrheit liefern; faszinierend, weil sie neue Möglichkeiten eröffnen, neue Verbindungen. Einfache Gegensatzpaare werden abgelöst von vielfältigen möglichen Zusammenhängen.

Ingvill Henmo ist Kunstkritikerin und Redakteurin von Billedkunst. Ausgebildet wurde sie als Künstlerin und Literaturwissenschaftlerin.
Aus dem Norwegischen von Hinrich Schmidt-Henkel

Rezension in Drammens Tidende als PDF

 

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I took part in a residency program at The Bag Factory (affiliated to the Triangle Arts Trust) in Johannesburg for three months. A part of the time I was teaching photography at the Funda College of Art in Soweto. Most of the pictures were taken during projects with the students. 
(Con)temporary is a combination of temporary and coeval. It refers to different parts of my rather short stay and my photo project. My focus was hawkers and spaza shops.

 

Aage Langhelle - From a post-colonial point of view
Perception is a complex process, not only in a physiological, but also in a political sense. In the age of post-colonialism the conditions of perception become even more complex. Here and now it becomes clear that such a thing as an innocent view does not exist any more. However, the search for the view of the guilty cannot result in a simple answer either, for the post-colonial view includes the colonized as much as the colonizer. In sum, one could say there are four different perspectives: the colonizer's view of the colonized and vice versa, as well as each one's perception of him/herself. But anyone describing these perspectives will face a further problem, as the perception itself is also perceived. Aage Langhelle's work for the exhibition "rest in space” is a presentation of these conditions. The artist spent three months taking photographs in South Africa. As a white tourist he was immediately recognized as a foreigner whose camera was also regarded a threat. Aage Langhelle compensates this ‘photographic assault' by presenting the photos in the frame of an installation. This installation is the reconstruction of an improvised market stall as they are to be found in many parts of Johannesburg. They serve to make a living for the South Africans who, after the end of apartheid, still live in poverty. The reconstruction of these shacks is not presented as an imitation, but as a kind of image which again includes further images - the mentioned photographs. The wooden beams that are used still show the price tags and look fresh and new. This is not a faithful reconstruction, as the very title of the work, ‘(con)temporary', shows, because contemporary becomes temporary, and thus opposes any claim for conservation. The temporary aspect of photography is identical with the temporary aspect of the installation, which furthermore refers to the temporary spazashops in South Africa. At the same time the construction of the space, of the installation, refers to the photographs' conceptual construction. For the view is not innocent, but Aage Langhelle adds notes to the pictures which explain and clarify the situation. Perception in the pictures meets with perception in the texts and is furthermore in dialogue with the perception of a reconstruction. Thus the view is refracted in itself and becomes reflected in a double meaning.
From a post-colonial point of view we may also learn that things are not as easy as they are presented in the media. George Monbiot writes about Robert Mugabe in Süddeutsche Zeitung: ”The governments of the rich world do not like land-reforms. Because they require an intervention of the state which offends the god of the free market, and bother the big farmers as well as the companies they are supplying. Only because Britain refused to allow or finance an appropriate program of reform in Zimbabwe, political circumstances developed, which Mugabe is now so unscrupulously taking advantage of. The 'Lancaster House Agreement‘ transferred the state of Zimbabwe to the blacks, the nation, however, to the whites.”

Thomas Wulffen

Thomas Wulffen (born 1954), art critic and curator. Writes, among other, for Kunstforum International, whose editor he was for several special issues. Lives in Berlin

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Article in Business Day. PDF

 

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Yellow ist not always yellow. Yellow ist the colour of light and of lie. We all have our own definitions of coloures. How we experience, remember and categorize the colour is the projects subject and motif. Is the yellow-colour on the printed photography still to be counted as yellow or has it changed into a green-colour - that is dependent on several factors on the way.
The work Composition with yellow (part of the Installation) consists of a series of quadratically shaped photographs (details) of yellow objects and surfaces that I took durings my rambles across Berlin.

Aage Langhelle

 

img_projekt_05_01THE ARCHIVIST'S CABINET
“This book is based on a text by Borges. (...)
This text quotes “a certain chinese encyclopedia” which says that “the animals are sorted as follows: 

a) animals who belong to the emperor, 
b) embalmed animals, 
c) tamed, 
d) milkporks, 
e) sirens, 
f) mythical creatures, 
g) stray dogs, 
h) those who belong to this group, 
i) those who act like mad, 
k) those who are drawn with a very fine paintbrush made from camelhair, 
l) and so on,
m) those who broke the waterjug, 

n) those who look like flies from a distance.” 
Michel Foucault, The Order of Things

And that's not all: in some parts of Africa - Tanzania for example - medical tablets are not sold for their function or their effect; you can't go to a pharmacy and buy tablets for malaria or the flu. Instead drugs are arranged by their shape and their colour: you can buy either green or pink, white or yellow tablets. Or you can choose between round or oval, spherical or liquid drugs. What would you like? I'll take green oval capsules, please. I'd like some pale pink liquid. What these pink liquids and oval capsules are for is of secundary importance. Their function may never be discussed at all. 

The description of these chinese or tanzanian cases does not illustrate an absurd or meaningless order. It simply shows that there is some order in which these objects are integrated, whether or not we understand the order represented by these situations. The examples demonstrate that the things are not the things. A tablet is not a tablet and an animal is not an animal. A tremendous chasm separates every object from itself. The phonetic articulation is part of a whole system of relationships and meanings which instantly collapses as soon as it is confronted with an alternate system. 

Like objects and their names, colours are also a part of this extensive system. There are not the objects on one side and the colours - that they coincidentally have - on the other. Colours are not the disguise of things, they're not added to them or removed from them. We can't think of objects separately from their colour. Every object has a colour - always. Colours are unremovable aspects of things. But how do things get connected to their colours - and colours to their things? And how, in the beginning or finally, do these arrangements of objects and colours get related to their sense and meaning? How does it work - while we're on the subject - that the colour yellow connotes lying and falsehood. Why not the contrary? And why is this different in other cultures??

Aage Langhelle's work does not focus on the actual assignment of colours to things and to a certain meaning. It is not about the colour yellow and its significance. It could as well be any other colour that is questioned by Langhelle. His work is situated on a more profound level. It is not about a colour as a colour. It is about the system of assignement that they belong to, about the structures of assortment by which colours are added to things and bestowed with meanings, and about the cultural constants by which the assignment of colours is ordered - it is about laws and regulations that make sure that an object has exactly this and no other colour.

That's the difference between an archive of colours and an open range of colours: in an archive it's not about the colours of Mondrian - was it this or that colour and what meaning does it have? But it is about the facts that were caused by this colour and about the rules that were produced by this colour as far as art-history is concerned. It is not about the designing of colours in a staircase of Oskar Schlemmer, but about the question, which order or what archive make it possible that exactly this certain staircase-colour is quoted and no other. And it is not about the scandalous connection between Mondrian and Donald Duck - the mix of high and low, everyday-life and art - but simply about the fact of the archivist's recognition that both pictures, Mondrian and Donald Duck, do work with the same colour. If in the future a certain tone of yellow would be entered into a digital photo-search engine, the technical archive of this image retrieval would show the future gallery on the screen: Mondrian next to Donald Duck.

The archivist's view is producing a new order of visual knowledge. Langhelle deconstructs well-known visual orders and puts them together in a new way. Here we see the importance of art history as one of the most powerful visual orders of our culture. Its archive is broken apart and then re-arranged by new criteria. This new criterion of colour leads to a mixing with objects of everyday life; but this mixing is not the theme - instead it is a neccessary consequence of the archivist's decision. He forgets about the function and form of objects and simply puts them into a new order only by their colour. Langhelle works with the visual order of somebody buying tablets in Tansania.

A new archive of the colour yellow is started, a new grouping in the order of things is established. This new grouping is not at all an arrangement of old things in another way; the objects are not only rearranged, they are also recreated by this. Like in a dream or in memories the objects also regenerate in this new grouping. As if the isolation of a simple object would dissolve in its new surrounding - as if the single object would never have existed as an isolated one - all of a sudden they change. Aage Lanhelle's cabinet is a magical place of transformation and metamorphosis.

This transformation, this mixing of one thing with another, is materialized in Langhelle's woven pictures: an isolated picture dissolves and gets woven together with an other. Just as in the digital photo search engine Mondrian and Donald Duck are linked because of the new ordering criteria, two pictures are woven together though they have nothing in common in a traditional ordering system. They form a new picture. By this, Langhelle recreates manually the process involved in digital media. The visual order of the future will be just as surprising as Langhelle's ever changing arrangements. But the archives do not only regulate the future.

Memory is the first archive. Memory shows that we don't memorize colours as colours, but only in their connection to things - so to speak colours as objects or colours as things. We remember the colour of a dress, the colour of the room or the screen's colour. But these objects don't simply appear, just as the colour didn't just appear out of nowhere. Instead the colours cling to a certain object, they appear together with them and form an undividable unity. So the dress' fabric can't be separated from the colour it has or has been dyed. As well, the colour of a room can't be separated from the room's walls, from the material and the way the colour was applied. Archive means the different possible ways by which colours can be connected to material.

Memory shows that every archive is connected to its material and because of that to its place. What distinguishes Langhelle's manual work from digital media is the concreteness of his archives. Like the first archives in antique Greece signified the unity of place and object, like an experiment in a laboratory has its concrete place and time, the concrete materialization of an archive exists only at one place: for instance in the pavillon of the Volksbühne. At any other place the archive is different. Every new arrangement of Langhelle's archive could have a thousand ways, but only one is possible and can be materialized.

As in a laboratory or in a modular construction system there are all different elements that are neccessary to create something new; but because of the limited number of these elements the new thing can only have one certain form. Langhelle's archives of colour are radically contingent; they don't exist from what he shows - but the colour's archives have their existence from what can be shown. Though what can be shown - and the examples of the tansanian tablets or the chinese animals demonstrate it as well - is always a frontier.
And so Foucault goes on with his example:
“With the amazement about this taxinomy we reach with one leap what is called in this list the exotic magic of an other thinking - the frontier of our thinking: the pure impossibility to think it.”
Knut Ebeling


Knut Ebeling, geboren 1970, ist Professor an der Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weißensee und Dozent an der Stanford University Berlin.
Knut Ebelings Veröffentlichungen (Auszug):
2011 - Wilde Archäologien 1. Theorien der materiellen Kultur, Berlin/Zürich
2009 - Archivologie. Theorien des Archivs in Philosophie, Medien und Künsten (Mithg.), Berlin
2007 - Das Archiv brennt (with Georges Didi-Huberman), Berlin
2004 - Die Aktualität des Archäologischen – in Wissenschaft, Medien und Künsten, Frankfurt am Main
2001 - Moskauer Tagebuch, Wien, Passagen.
2000 -Die Falle, Wien, Passagen 
1998 - Carl-Einstein-Award for art critic.
1997 - Zettels Trauma, Berlin, Koch und Kesslau

img projekt 05 02Review in TIP. PDF
 

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