AIRFLOW meets LIGHTFLOW
The installation "SCHEMEN" by the Cologne artist R.J.Kirsch at PETERSBURGER | Space for Art | 2019
In the exhibition room of the PETERSBURGER Gallery in Cologne, which covers an area of approx. 12 sqm, an object hangs in the middle, which is illuminated by three flashlights resting on a pedestal and casts a wall-filling shadow. This shadow image consists of many coloured segments which flow into each other corresponding to the gentle rotation of the object.
For more than 25 years the Cologne painter and conceptual artist Rolf Kirsch has been working with the projection of shadow images. In the debate about the relationship between painting and technical image media, which dominated his work shortly after his studies, shadow stagings quickly became the actual medium for the painter, as he saw here an interface between painting and virtual image.
Subsequently, he began an intensive investigation of technical image production, as well as of graphic works, which increasingly structured his pictorial imagination in a serial manner. Typical of this phase were his tableaux of signs, which, like a script, seem to be arranged in a row to anticipate the cinematic character of his later shadow sequences. From here, the first transformations of drawings into shadow compositions were created. Basically based on the principle of the photogram, Kirsch consistently developed his shadow projection further; pure black and white was extended by the three primary colors, which broke into increasingly complex objects and seemed to span a three-dimensional space in the shadow projection. He calls these sculptures props, which acquire an independent meaning in their further development. Finally, these props float in slow rotation in front of the light sources, so that their moving shadows constantly shift against each other in a quasi cinematic sequence. From here, the first transformations of drawings into shadow compositions were created.
Now, in view of the shadow image that Kirsch has currently set up in the PETERSBURGER art space, a whole series of associations and references of a philosophical nature can be made. In his own remarks, the artist has always avoided this, strained it too much, and even tried to make such references. The Platonic cave parable, for example, or the panta rhei [in English: everything flows ] of the Greek philosopher Heraclitus. At least the parable of the cave is usually shortened. For it not only describes the epistemological limitation of man, who in the parable considers the shadow image in the cave to be a real world, but concludes above all with the question whether it is not an ethical duty of those who have recognized the real world to communicate this to the "blinded" in order to clarify their error.
At least as far as this claim is concerned, the installation "SCHEMEN" has no catching up to do. In spite of all the illusions that are offered to the eye of the beholder, one always has the objects that cast their shadows in view at the same time, so a confusion of illusionary space and reality is excluded from the outset.
Various materials, base, hot-melt adhesive, 5 x 4 m, 25 x 25 x 25cm, 2016
The slow rotation of the objects hanging in front of the light sources shows how much the viewer becomes a component of the installation at the end. Only the movements of the walking audience cause the sculpture to slowly rotate, turning the projection on the wall from a standing picture into a film.
Airflow meets lightflow.
R.J.Kirsch | SCHEMEN
Installation in the Petersburg Space for Art
Opening on 8.11.2018, 18.00 hk
Exhibition from 9.11-13.11.2018
daily from 17.00