the shape of forms to come
"I throw away my discovery like the remainder of a smoked cigarette. This seashell was of use to me, whorl after whorl it enticed what I am, what I know, and what I do not know".
Paul Valery in "Man and the Seashell"
What Valery is describing in this sentence is more than a fleeting event on the seashore. It is a key experience, an encounter with an object that gives the beholder new findings and images and then triggers a process of creation or thought. Part of Valery's theory of human creation is based on this experience, which later in turn would become the point of departure of Le Corbusier's theory of design and architecture.
Le Corbusier describes "inspiring" found pieces as objets a reaction poetique, and that is exactly what we see in Sabine Dusend's 2011 video work included in this exhibition The Shape of Forms to Come at Galerie Kuttner Siebert. But the objects shown here are industrially produced use objects of the late twentieth century whose aesthetic value requires the filtering of the eye and the camera of the artist. The video begins with a chafing dish made of glass placed on a table, which is then picked up, its transparence examined in the light. Various objects are then held against a white backdrop before an amateur camera which studies their ornamental structure, their whorl, the play of light and shadow. The result is a series of abstract black and white images that are sometimes quite removed from the object in question, which due the missing soundtrack is reminiscent of early experimental film. The images become a moving ornament that is interrupted by cuts and the change of objects.
In the second video work of the exhibition, Hedwig Houben's About the Good and the Bad Sculpture, two white, almost identical sculptures can be seen on two pedestals. On first glance, they seem to mark the end of a process of creation. But from a female voice off screen we learn of the intention of the artist: "I intended one to be good looking and one to be not." Additional motivations are not provided. We only learn that the decision to create the sculptures had been made weeks ago. In an analytic and yet astonishingly personal report by the narrator, the spectator is made privy to the artist's insecurities in approaching the failed project. The viewer takes part in considerations about how to improve the work, and is finally led to the insight that the sculptures serve to reflect on shape, material, elegance, and symmetry before being return to the corner of the studio. The strategic planning of a form has failed, the result must be examined anew. The original belief that at the start of every good sculpture is a good concept is now confronted with a coincidental find.
For the exhibition at Galerie KUTTNER SIEBERT I have invited artists to present their work in a room-divider architecture of my own design, featuring wood frames enveloped with cloth. The images and contents of the video works thus become found pieces to which I can react. In so doing, an independent installation that structures the space emerges, with several modules and at the same time a display mechanism that equally partakes of the project space and the works themselves. The pavilion like arrangement evokes in the beholder the impression of a fleeting space within the gallery and thus underscores the subjects treated in the video works such as light and shadow and questions of form. Yet it remains a spatial fragment. The fragmentary is explained by its construction, which indicates that it can easily be dismantled and erected anew. Despite this lightness, it is reminiscent of the staging power of cinema and theater spaces. This association is triggered by the use of a certain fabric, the classic material found in the interiors of such locations. But the commonality is linked solely to this material quality. In a metaphorical sense, it possesses the same fleetingness of the fictions presented in such theatrical spaces.