© 2012 Staatliches Museum Schwerin, Kehrer Verlag Heidelberg Berlin, authors (translators), artists and photographers ISBN 978-3-86828-301-3
The first couple of translated paragraphs from …
Preface: Baltic Sea as Region of Culture – Dirk Blübaum
The Baltic Sea region not only has sweeping untouched natural landscapes to offer us, it is also a cultural landscape that in terms of richness and diversity is unmatched in Europe. At the same time cultural heritage, exactly because of its almost unique combinability with natural heritage, is a crucial factor both for the future development of the Baltic Sea region as a whole and for the unfolding of its individual sub-spaces. Dealing with the cultural heritage, coming to terms with and preserving this heritage, is this very day presenting the region’s players with new challenges that have their causes in the major political and societal changes of the last half-century. Against this background the exhibition project “Connected by Art” has come forward with the aim of presenting, in the field of art, opportunities to develop and unfold cultural identities that will focus the eye on both the region as a whole and on its cultural and regional differences.
“Connected by Art” is an exhibition project with which State Museum Schwerin is re-enlivening the many years’ view of the Baltic Sea region as a cultural space. At the center of the considerations lies the question whether, during the past 20 years in which the countries of this region have opened up to one another, a cultural space has come about whose dichotomous history has merged into a new common identity. Prior to the 1990s intellectual dialog between West and East, shared growth, and mutual cultural exchange were barely possible. It was not until after the fall of the Iron Curtain that the opportunity opened itself up to progress from a “Sea of Confrontation” to a “Sea of Co-operation,” as it is also expressed in the program of the Baltic Media Forum of February 2012 to mark the 20-year anniversary of the Baltic Sea Council.
The path toward a prospering and lasting togetherness has been a long one, though, and, in retrospect, the separate national histories dominate the picture. Either the individual countries belonged to different territorial dominions or they were welded together into an empire. …
Introduction: An Artistic Tour of the Baltic Sea – Kornelia Röder, Antonia Napp
Going on a journey is always exciting, full of experiences, and personally enriching. The exhibition “Connected by Art” understands itself to be a journey of a special kind, taking a look at contemporary art and at how it is re-asserting itself, particularly in the course of globalization processes. Like no other area of human creativity and innovation, visual artworks connect different countries, foreign cultures, and people with one another. Art history reads like the forerunner of the concept of a united Europe, and Museum Schwerin was able to demonstrate this exemplarily as early as 2001: The exhibition “Caspar David Friedrich und Johan Christian Dahl. Zeichnungen der Romantik,” which was organized together with the National Gallery in Oslo and then shown in Rouen, showed the opportunities and possibilities of transnational co-operation. Christian Dahl, the Norwegian, and Caspar David Friedrich, who was born in Pomerania, studied together at the Art Academy in Copenhagen. Fascinated by the Dutch painting of the 17th century, they absorbed a wide diversity of stimuli. While sharing a house in Dresden they developed the pictorial concept of the Romantic era in close connection with the simultaneously arising philosophy of nature. This can be held as an example of the way artists from the Baltic Sea region set out to new horizons and wrote European art history; we give it a mention, too, because multiple references to Romanticism can be found in the present exhibition “Connected by Art” as well, at their clearest in the works by artists Miks Mitrēvics and Udo Rathke.
The exhibition’s geographical co-ordinates are formed by the Baltic Sea, whose maritime boundary is simultaneously the connecting element of all the neighboring states. “The Baltic Sea has always united what was politically separated. […] One is sensible of the connection of Kiel Firth and Courland Spit, of Gotland and Hiddensee, Helsinki and Rostock as the greatest matter of course in the world.”[i] The exhibition’s artistic journey around the Baltic Sea includes Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, and Denmark. Norway and Iceland likewise play a part, conditioned by the close historical relations between the Scandinavian countries. From every country expert colleagues were able, with a trained eye, to open up new perspectives on their country’s current artistic output and in Schwerin, out of the positions presented by them, the exhibition “Created by Art” was put together, an exhibition that sees itself both as a cooperation and as a networking project. The present catalog, for which the curators from the participating countries have written essays, illustrates the project’s intention.
The exhibition unites three different forums of confrontation, which are reflected in the three chapters of the present catalog: the Artists’ Space, in which the works of the individual artists are presented; the Art and Science Lab, which is dedicated to scientific dealing with cultural identity phenomena; and finally the Creative Lab, in which – also with recourse to the Internet – both individual and collective dealing with identity is at the focus from a personal perspective.
[i] Ursula März, “Innere Wüsten. Wie die DDR im Familienroman wiederaufersteht. Junge Autoren beschwören das verschwundene Land ihrer Kindheit,” in: Die Zeit, 28.07.2011.
Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen: Absolute Exotic – Stine Høholt (I worked from the translation into German from Danish)
“Ditched for a witch by my ex
He was crying for more sex
Negro chick on a manhunt
He chose that mulatto cunt
Rasta and Bob Marley style
He’s a convert negrophile.”
This is the first verse of the rap by Danish/Filipina artist Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen in her work Absolute Exotic, from 2005. This verse cannot exactly be called politically correct, and the rest of the rap also exhibits the same sarcastic tone of voice. On the other hand, the work is incredibly witty, what with its vivid description of how it feels to be left by your man for another woman. It is self-mocking and indeed – as I see it – mercilessly honest in its description of pain and bitterness. In the video, which is based originally on a performance, we see the artist dance – like a modern-day Josephine Baker, with a grass skirt, anklets, a bikini top, flower garland, and red pompoms. It is all absolutely exotic in its kitsch and kinky way.
Cuenca Rasmussen’s rap and dance is accompanied by two young, Danish men. They dance and sing the chorus to the performance, which copies a music video in its whole set-up. The stage backdrop supports the exotic, kitschy look with its colorful, naive-looking palm-tree landscape featuring monkeys, tortoises, water, sand, and a scorching yellow sun. During the song’s refrain the artist narrates that it is “hip to be a nigger,” but that “Asia is out of fashion.” She also describes how she quite often falls in love with white men, whereas she “doesn’t care for Greenland men,” though, and has “never seen a dark man nude.”
Cuenca Rasmussen’s oeuvre is about culturally defined racial hierarchies that can change according to place and time. It is also about being an exotic object – not only to men, but to society in general, and about being “exotic,” but not in the right way. The word “exotic” comes from the Greek work “exotikos” and is translated as “foreign.” The exotic is therefore the foreign; it is also often used in the narrow sense of “Latino.” The work Absolute Exotic marked an artistic breakthrough for Cuenca Rasmussen, seeing her in 2005 take up the theme of her life story in the performance-and-rap combination. Cuenca herself says about her work: “The rap is about what it’s like to be an exotic object because of my ethnic appearance, and that I often meet men who choose ‘ethnic dark girls’. It is a reverse race discrimination, so to mean discrimination in a positive way. I want to point out the existing hierarchy and race discrimination between different ethnic groups in society depending on where you are. For example, in Denmark it is cooler to be African or Asiatic rather than a Greenlandic or Muslim. The social status of a foreigner would be different elsewhere, in the U.S. or in Greece.”
Cultural identity in the Baltic Sea region
Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen’s performance and video works deal with the question of identity in a globalized world. However, in a Northern Europe that is shaped by the challenges of globalization and by recentralizing forces, she does not even begin to try making general observations about shared identity in our times. Rather, in her works she arrives at concrete, phenomenological statements about what it means to be surrounded by precisely the past and present in which she herself is tangled. In the process – often in a transgressive or brutal manner – she uses her own body as artistic material for her fascinating or thought-provoking narratives.
Sven Johne: Vinta – Antonia Napp
The world is everything that is the case[i]
One day Orlov ate too much pea puree and died. And Krylov, who heard about it, died too. And Spiridonov died by himself. […] And Kruglov painted a lady with a lash in her hand and went crazy. And Perechrjostov received four hundred rubles by telegram and became so snobbish that he was fired. All of them good people who cannot get a foothold.[ii]
Life and Death in East Germany and the Rest of the World – this title of a catalog by Sven Johne names a primary theme for the artist which, in varying forms, runs throughout his oeuvre. The six-part photographic work Vinta from 2004 also takes its place in Sven Johne’s artistic explorations of East German landscapes after the fall of the Iron Curtain. At the same time Johne’s works, which are of a documentary nature, are characterized in particular by the form of “cases.”
Vinta, for example, consists of a prologue in which the setting that connects all the cases is presented. Five simultaneously constructed cases then follow on from this: In each case, the portrait of a man and a picture to represent his life’s dream is put together in the strict form of a diptych. Beneath each of the diptychs a short, sober text characterizes the specific case.
So, the beginning is marked by an island called Vinta, presented to the left by means of a photo with an abundance of water and a small elevation on the horizon; to the right one sees an ocean map which, in line with its function, steers our attention toward the water and thereby points out the setting’s insularity. Drily, the text indicates the island’s location, its size, and its essential characteristic – easternmost German island – in order then to highlight it as the common feature of the subsequent cases, which moreover are also distinguished by the moment of failing.
Five cases now follow in chronological order: The second diptych in the series is dedicated to an ornithologist who is occupied in 1923, typically for his times, with pinning down living beings under fixed categories. The question of whether European or North African migratory birds make a stopover on the island is behind his marking experiments, which ultimately are the birds’ undoing. The ornithologist runs aground in his questioning and in his desire to draw fixed boundaries using scientific categories, which, of course, are completely incongruous with the principle of migratory birds as essentially nomadic, moving creatures.
In 1929, according to the third case, the director Fritz Lang films scenes of his movie The Woman in the Moon on Vinta: The remote island is transformed by means of sand filling into the moon and into a place of realizing a utopia, lunar flight. Lang himself came to grief with his silent movie due to talkies, which were just coming out at the time.
The transition from technological utopia to its realization is marked in the fourth case, which places the world’s first rocket launch under the leadership of Wernher von Brauns in 1937 on Vinta. It is not so much the technological failing that plays a role here as, rather, a moral one, as Brauns’ collaboration on the development of a defensive rocket for the National Socialist government would forever stain his reputation.
While the aforementioned components of the work are connected, beyond their location, by the motif of flight as well, the fifth case – the attempted escape from the GDR to Denmark by pediatrician Dieter Pohlmann – appears initially to veer off this line. As Vinta, according to the accompanying text, has been a military exclusion zone since 1961 and was therefore unknown to the population, Pohlmann’s arrival on the island constitutes an error that thus transforms the island into the location of a failed flight to freedom. The movement in this case can be read in two ways: for one thing, it is the flight from the GDR, comparable to the utopian flight to the moon; for another, it is the erroneous arrival on Vinta, as a movement that should be read as paradoxical.
A similarly failed movement of arrival characterizes the sixth case: The historical past catches up with the island when a Belgian construction entrepreneur plans a burial site there for “late returnees” from South America – so for the former Nazis who went to ground after the end of the Second World War – but the site is prohibited by law, whereby a man’s dream is shattered. Here, it is an aspired-to return from exile that is not realized that characterizes the movement of the case.
Kamil Kuskowski: Situation Dictionary and Museum – Antonia Napp
When is a picture a picture? And where is a picture a picture? With the two works Situation Dictionary and Museum Kamil Kuskowski throws up these questions in a surprising, humorous way. In his works the artist, who lives and works in Łódź and holds a doctorate in art history, revels in operating on a metalevel of art production. Be it spines of standard art history works enlarged to the size of paintings and arranged on the walls of a white cube (Art painting, 2008), be it triangular white and black canvases with their edges adorned by ornaments and symbols from old treatises (m-a-s-o-n, 2009) – Kuskowski always works while referring to the production of knowledge and the power mechanisms of the system of art.
A picture frame in the landscape, abrupt, unexpected. To the uninitiated walker perhaps an annoyance, a visual nuisance, or an irritation, but also the beginning of a chain of associations: The start of the theoretical musings on the nature of the picture in the modern age is marked, after all, by the definition by Leon Battista Alberti, who calls it a window.[i] A window is nothing other than an opening for seeing through. With Alberti the window becomes the metaphor that can explain the picture space by drawing a parallel between the space painted in central perspective and the real-life space that opens up behind a window. The window frame is the equivalent of the picture frame, and the vanishing point is the equivalent of the eye of the beholder. Thus the picture, as Alberti defines it – and his definition held into the 19th century – becomes dependent on the eye of the beholder. And this eye – as Kamil Kuskowski adds ironically – is never impartial. The golden picture frame that, in Situation Dictionary, draws a frame around our view into the landscape space, gently mocks our eye, which, trained in the Romanticism of the early 19th century, wanders on the search for the beauty of nature.
In the case of the installation developed for Schwerin in the palace garden on the castle island, a further layer of meaning arises from the fact that we find ourselves not in natural nature, but in the cultivated nature of a castle garden that was composed for the benefit of its strolling guests with sight lines, panoramas, and distinctive accents. Thus, the strollers’ gazes are disciplined not only through internal training to search for the beautiful, but also through the external guidance of the landscaped park. In the process the gaze through the picture frame to the expanse of water between the royal stables peninsula and Kaninchenwerder island is specifically directed past all axes and falls back on itself from the undefined expanse of water and the distant horizon.
Now is that a picture? And if yes, which one? Up until two centuries ago the story of landscape painting was hardly glamorous, the genre falling as it did into the lower ranks of the academic hierarchy of genres. The landscape picture theme was legitimized solely as a backdrop for a historical, mythological, or Biblically significant event. This changed in Romanticism; the view of the landscape enabled a presentiment of the sublime – the painted landscape was meant to evoke the sensation of experiencing that landscape firsthand. In an ideal manner once again a parallel was drawn between real-life space and picture space: If, for Alberti, the picture space was still the ideal likeness of the real-life space, indeed superior to the real world in perfected composition and intensification of statement, then the view into the real landscape is now – mighty like the Alps or ocean – superior to any landscape painting. The ideal picture is the real landscape.[ii]
Or is it all entirely otherwise and the picture only in our heads?
[i] Cf. Leon Battista Alberti, De Pictura, 1435/1436.
[ii] It is no coincidence that the notion of a picture that can be walked on is behind the English landscape garden.
Miks Mitrēvics: Let’s go for a walk? I don’t know. It’s already late. Okay, just around a lake – Kornelia Röder
The title of the work could be taken from a work of literature and, in its associative figurativeness, gets to the essence of Miks Mitrēvics’s works.
The philosopher of the Romantic era, Friedrich Schelling, described nature as a poem “which is locked up in strange and secret characters. Yet could the riddle be disclosed, we should recognise in it the Odyssey of the mind, which, strangely deceived, in seeking itself, flees from itself: for through the sense-world there is a glimpse, only as through words of the meaning, only as through half-transparent mist of the land of imagination, after which we yearn.”[i]
In his works the artist Miks Mitrēvics, who was born in Riga and has been living in Ghent for a number of years, investigates the fragility of nature: he exhibited at the 53rd Biennale in Venice with an installation with exactly that title, Fragile Nature. The topics dealt with in his works are tied closely with his identity as a Latvian; in them is articulated, not least, his fascination with the untouched and scarcely accessible nature of his homeland. As a result of what he calls the “perspective change” of his perception, things he once took for granted change in the unknown. Mitrēvics’s leaving of his homeland is tied closely with the process of developing his own artistic language, and is considered by him to be an important aspect of his life. In an interview the artist states: “Today, people are exposed to global processes that threaten their self-perception as free and independent people.”[ii]
In his environments and in the graceful installations, mostly built out of natural materials and everyday technological objects, which make one think of free-standing linear drawings, he finds emotive images to represent the threat to man and nature. “Flashes of inspiration” often become the starting point for his work concepts, based on the one hand on personal memories, inspired on the other by the actual place of their creation. His form of approach is described by Mitrēvics himself as “carefulness.” Questions regarding the way man deals with everyday things, when, for example, a roof is leaky and inundation of the house is an imminent inevitable menace, play a crucial role in the works’ creation process.
Mitrēvics prefers to work with natural materials such as branches, stones, and clay, but also with house plants, which with people develop deep bonds by cherishing and looking after them.[iii] Should they be understood as set pieces, relics, or symbols of nature? Mitrēvics’s understanding of nature as something fragile is founded on the fact that while nature can become a threat to man, man himself constitutes a threat to nature. This conception has its origin in the Romantic-era philosophy of nature. The physical moment of a latent menace to nature is inherent in Mitrēvics’s works as well. The branches used in his installations bear no leaves; they lack any form of fresh greenness, they appear to be dead. Memento mori and vanitas are overlaid particularly in those works in which the branches are hung with plastic bags or bottles.
The use of water – above all, rain – opens up, besides its function as a natural element necessary to life, a further dimension of Mitrēvics’s oeuvre: sound. Who is not familiar with the noise of pattering rain on window panes or the soft, almost meditative falling of raindrops on a hot summer’s day? Experiences from an everyday world are directly incorporated and lend the installations a high degree of authenticity. Equally, the phenomenon of time becomes an experience in the change of rhythm and intensity. Associations with John Cage, who conceived of everyday noises as music, emerge. In his work Waterwalk Cage used water as an acoustic instrument back in 1960. In Mitrēvics’s understanding the whirring of ventilators, the clicking of slide projectors, beeps coming out of microphones also present perceptive opportunities that go beyond the purely visual.
[i] Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling, Werke, Band 2, Leipzig 1907, S. 298–304.
[ii] Miks Mitrēvics, in: Marlies Bilz-Leonhardt, “Imagined Moments – Miks Mitrevics. Installationen in der Overbeck-Gesellschaft,” in: Unser Lübeck. Kultur Magazin, http://www.unser-luebeck.de/content/view/2883/289/ (status 12.04.2012).
[iii] Cf. Burkhard Rosskothen im Gespräch mit Miks Mitrevics, a film by Alexandra Koch and Burkhard Rosskothen, commissioned by Montag Stiftung Bildende Kunst (http://www.montag-stiftungen.com/bildende-kunst/), Production: Internet Fernsehen einfallsreich.tv, © einfallsreich.tv 2010, see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfrrrI_2nYc (status 26.3.2012).
Magnus Petersson: Stills – Kornelia Röder, Antonia Napp
Unfolding their magic in sonar images, the shipwrecks of artist Magnus Petersson look like biomorphic relics from a bygone age, leading, on the ocean floor, a mysterious life hidden from man. Now that they have been located and rediscovered they function as repositories of knowledge and history, as the final witnesses of historical events or dramatic natural disasters. Each of the wrecks visualized by means of sonar technology has its own unmistakable appearance, shaped and altered by nature’s forces. At times they look like venerable manifestations of mystery-shrouded stories, like flayed bodies in the depths of the ocean, or like primordial beings from a time when the world was exposed to far-reaching geological transformation processes.
Reports, traditions, anecdotes, and legends about sunken ships have exerted a great fascination over people for centuries. They are associated with adventure, risk, and mystery, and still attract many treasure-seekers today. Remarkably, the Baltic Sea has the world’s biggest stock of shipwrecks. Their discovery and visualization also stirs interest in their unique fate, as in turn the stories and images of even such weather-beaten remnants give flight to the human imagination.
In the sonar images by Magnus Petersson, technology and art enter in a knowledge-enriching and aesthetically fascinating way into a symbiosis that goes beyond painstaking documentation and proves to be a “perfect blend of art and technology.” With the aid of sonar impulses it is possible to locate objects under water and determine their distances from the surface. Among its other uses, sonar is applied in marine archaeology as a means of measuring: a distinction is drawn between horizontal location, as with sonar, and vertical location, as with the echo sounding line. In addition there are active and passive sonars; both methods make it possible to determine the direction of the incoming sound, whereby transmitter and receiver participate in equal measure in the image generation process. This double authorship forms the basis for the particular visual status of Petersson’s Stills.
“Elstir, the impressionist painter from Proust’s Recherche, who [painted] sea pieces […] above all, [expressed] at the end of his life the desire […] to be able to paint electromagnetic waves.” Magnus Petersson does not paint sound waves; rather, with him, these waves themselves become the artistic means of production. The starting point and focus of the process of technology-based image generation that characterizes his working method is the image gained by sonar methods of the shipwreck, which probably has never been seen before by any person. The high reality content of his visual world comes about through specific methods of scanning, simultaneously an invisible thing – the sunken wreck – is rendered visible through the image and represented. Thus the wrecks from the series Stills appear as pictorial “doppelgangers” of their real original shapes. The shipwrecks remain concealed on the ocean floor; we discern nothing but their images. This form of image generation raises fundamental questions of images’ importance today and of processes of perception.
 “According to archaeologists’ appraisal the Baltic Sea is one of the bodies of water with the most wrecks worldwide. To date, around 300 wrecks are reportedly known about around Rügen alone. However, these are reportedly only ten to 20 percent of the sunken ships actually assumed to be there,” see: http://nachrichten.t-online.de/viele-noch-unerforschte-wracks-in-der-ostsee-/id_55261614/index (status: 01.05.2012).
 Sónar: Barcelona’s International Festival of Advanced Music and New Media Art. (http://www.sonar.es/ (status 03.05.2012). see: https://www.nmessen.com/sonar (status: 01.05.2012)
 Active sonars use the echo principle like radar systems, and emit a signal themselves. The duration of the echo is decisive for the measurement of distance.
 In the passive sonar only the signals / noises generated independently by the object are received, so that the locating system can remain camouflaged.
 CFP: Archiv für Mediengeschichte 11, “Takt und Frequenz,“ in: H-ArtHist, 01.03.2011, see: http://arthist.net/archive/982 (status: 01.05.2012).
 Well…come 21 – Grenzraum von Kunst und Naturwissenschaft, open research project among interdisclinary instsitutes, since 2001, by the Braunschweig University of Art, see: http://www.global-brain-sounds.info/?p=430 (status: 01.05.2012).
Udo Rathke: Flut – Kornelia Röder
Portrayal of natural disasters is a topic that runs through art history like a golden thread, and it has acquired a completely new visual presence in today’s media world. Satellites send television images of volcano eruptions, earthquakes, melting poles, hurricanes, typhoons, tsunamis, and of mighty floods whose masses of water wash humans and houses straight into the collective living room. Not only in those immediately affected, the sensation of apocalyptic doom is evoked. Are these disasters the outcomes of a centuries-long over-exploitation of nature? The Bible tells of people punished for their excess with an all-destroying flood. The building of Noah’s Ark, however, brought salvation, combined with a new beginning in a different world. In this world man and nature were to live together in harmony.
Images by artists expressing the drifting apart of man and nature are diverse and have altered in the course of the centuries. The spectrum of artistic reflection ranges from helpless subjection and fatalistic abandonment to destiny, to appeals, admonishments, and humanity-rousing apocalyptic visions. Created parallel to these end-of-days scenarios, however, have also been works in which the beauty and fragility of nature are conjured up, works that create refuges and biotopes, or that document and archive endangered fauna and flora for tomorrow’s world. Projects such as the planting of 7,000 oaks by Joseph Beuys at “documenta 7” in 1982 in Kassel combined art with an active, lasting contribution to nature regeneration and at the same time departed from the museum context.
The video installation Flut, developed and realized by Udo Rathke specifically for the exhibition “Connected by Art”, revolves around the explosive topic of the “rupture between nature and modern civilization.”[i] His affinity with the Romantic and with the philosophy of nature that evolved with it already formed the basis for earlier works such as Clouds or the media installation Camouflage and the drawings series deluge.[ii] In its complexity the eight-part Flut opens up the possibility of reflecting multilayered contexts in visual art form. Rathke has been pursuing the approach of combining painting and moving pictures in novel visual experiences for years, and represents therefore the tradition of experimental abstract film that developed in the 1920s.[iii] His modus operandi is based on the process of cutting and pasting, which affords him boundless freedom for his new-image creations. His image reservoirs are simultaneously the Internet, historical and self-produced photos and films, and reproductions of old masters. This material he then fragments: focused details are defamiliarized, changed in color, animated, and already moving pictures are given a new rhythm. Alongside this Rathke paraphrases pictorial templates, such as, for example, the melodramatic paintings of the painter John Martin,[iv] which the artist discovered recently in London.
These transformation processes led to the creation of pictures whose origin is no longer traceable by the beholder; this origin is described by Rathke as follows: “Through the partial fragmentation of the image by means of ‘interference’ and through the muting of the colors, a dissolution, or splintering, of the motifs comes about.”[v] In his eyes, this is where – just as in fuzziness and imagination[vi]– the aloof relationship of man to nature finds pictorial, artistic expression.[vii]While considering his moving paintings one has the impression, at times, of discerning something concrete, such as a blazing inferno, a rising wave, a whirlpool, opening and contracting jellyfish, or a school of fish gliding through the sea. For a brief moment one believes one is seeing real images, which dissolve only a few moments later into abstract pictorial worlds. These barely perceptible metamorphoses exert a great fascination over the beholder. Like the circles caused by a stone when it is dropped or thrown in water, the dynamic flow of the moving paintings moves continuously forward as an infinite loop. The color-play follows the change in tempo and rhythm of the filmic image sequences and lends the video installation effortlessness and aesthetic beauty. In its structure the work was approached neither as succession nor as series or arrangement. While preserving their visual autonomy the eight differently conceived moving paintings conjoin, condense, and intensify under their unifying title Flut. In their linked interplay they open up complex spaces of thought and contemplation that constitute no reality-bound mirror images of tragic natural events. In analogy with the phenomena discussed by natural history and philosophy, Flut, too, visualizes a complex system of visual impressions, whereby the individual fields of investigation result not least from distortions in comprehension and communication between man and nature.
[i] Udo Rathke, “Notizen zur Videoinstallation Flut,” unpublished.
[ii] Clouds was created in 2001, the multi-part media installation Camouflage in2011 (exhibited at Kunsthalle Rostock) and the drawings series deluge in 2012 (presented at Galerie wolkenbank Rostock).
[iii] Cf. Paul Young, “Abstraktion und lyrischer Film,” in: Paul Young / Paul Duncan (eds.), Art Cinema, Cologne 2009, p. 51–67.
[iv] John Martin (Dates: 1789–1854).
[v] Udo Rathke, “Notizen zur Videoinstallation Flut” (as note 1).
[vi] Thus the title of an exhibition catalog and of the article contained inside by Katrin Arrieta, cf.: Unschärfe und Imagination, exhibition catalog Kunstsammlung Neubrandenburg and Städtische Galerie Salzburg, Schwerin 2009, p. 11–69.
[vii] Cf. Franziska Brons, “Bildstörung,” in: Horst Bredekamp / Birgit Schneider / Vera Dünkel (eds.), Das Technische Bild, Kompendium zu einer Stilgeschichte wissenschaftlicher Bilder, Berlin 2008, p. 164–166.