Galerie Guido W. Baudach is pleased to present Die Theorie des Himmels III – Focus Imaginarius (The Theory of Heavens – Focus Imaginarius) the fourth solo exhibition by Berlin based artist Björn Dahlem (*1974). For more than ten years now, Dahlem is intensly concerned with the creation of world models and galactic visions. Apart from a series of extensive installations, also smaller sculptures and assemblages in display cases were built. With these, even in this show, Dahlem condenses his views of a symbolically loaden „mechanic of the heavens“.
Significant for Dahlem´s recent work is the appearance of seemingly religious subjects. These penetrate and merge with his visions of space that were mostly inspired by scientific developments. According to the religious elements a new perspective appears in terms of content. Cosmic correlations and phenomenons are put into the context of the Last Days, respectively the doctrines of salvation. These connections become obvious considering two upright display cases entitled The End of it All. In a dialectical way both works illustrate the „bright“ as well as the „dark“ side ot the apocalypse. The „bright“ side consists of three vertical compartiments. On a crystal vase combined with a wooden element balances a golden square that is connected with a filigree structure made of wooden sticks. Above the tabernacle-like entity floats the figurine of a lamb in the aureole of a glass plate, surrounded by a corona. Contrasting to this work reminding distinctively of religious cult objects, Björn Dahlem created with The End of it All (Phobos) a threatening, dark coloured construction that seems to absorb the light. It is built out of various elements: an octagonal, massive block fixed with ball shaped forms of different sizes. The big central ball is a planet accompanied by satellites in the form of four small stars. Corresponding to them, Phobos that is mentioned in the title is a satellite from Mars. Phobos is originally greek and means „fear“.
Another exemplary mise-en-scène of a cosmological concept is the oblong format display case entitled The Expanding Universe (Big Bang). The work consists of a vertical base-construction with two filled glasses and a clock that is crowned by a light bulb. Underneath the light bulb a fine-lined wooden horizontal flare or bell-like construction is fixed. Out of its center a radial emanation of stars in different sizes takes place, visualizing substance that is continously evolving in time and space. Time in form of a clock is also a component ot the sculpture Galaxie (Galaxy). The clock is integrated in a box with an ascending form, that is coronated by a horizontal ornament. Above it rises a wooden construction of a wheel or ellipsis, that the mind can put into constant motion.
In his display cases/sculptures Björn Dahlem combines objets trouvés with self-designed components in a playful and laconic way. Industry produced items and self-made bricolages meet with symbolically loaded objects and devotionals. With the resulting conglomerates the artist follows in a decent and sometimes humorous way old cosmological traditions. Dahlem not only refers to destinctive christian symbols but to deeply rooted levels of meaning, or at least is a search for meaning, that transcends contemporary questions of style. Dahlem not only terms the two subjects creation and the end of the world, but links purposely to the concept of the artist as creator. With Focus Imaginarius (a term in Immanuel Kant´s book Kritik der Urteilskraft) he refers to the crucial process of sharpening and focusing on inner perceptions and images, that will be condensed into fixed forms and shapes – a basic proceeding for the emergence of art.
The exhibition Björn Dahlem: Die Theorie des Himmels I – Die Milchstraße (The Theory of Heavens I – The Milky Way) is currently on view at KIT – Kunst im Tunnel in Düsseldorf (September 11, 2010 – January 16, 2011). A comprehensive catalogue was published at DISTANZ Verlag.
Björn Dahlem has participated at numerous solo and group exhibitions both in Germany and abroad (selection): Take Me To Your Leader! The Great Escape Into Space, The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo (2010) / Next Generation, Einblicke in junge Ostschweizer Privatsammlungen, Kunstmuseum St. Gallen (2010) / Open Light in Private Spaces, Biennale für Internationale Lichtkunst Ruhr, Unna (2010) / The Theory of Heaven I – Bright Matter, La Conservera, Murcia (2009) / Vertrautes Terrain, Aktuelle Kunst in & über Deutschland, ZKM, Karlsruhe (2008) / Made in Germany, kestnergesellschaft, Hannover (2007) / The Uncertainty of Objects and Ideas: Recent Sculpture, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington (2006) / Solaris, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2004) / Utopia Planitia II, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2004) / Utopia Planitia I, FRAC, Marseilles (2004).