Fragments of projection, sculpture, faux shadows and sounds permeate the gallery space, allowing the viewer to explore endlessly varied audio-visual compositions by wandering through the work, essentially becoming a part of the artwork itself. The sculpture is cut from plastic sheets and features ink drawings as well as burn marks that are bathed in distorting light particles. In its manifestation of Seidel’s experimental film aesthetics into real spaces, tearing shadows was a seminal step in expanding his palette of the hybridized abstraction.
For Robert Seidel’s work it needs to be dark. It is only in spaces scarcely lit that such luminescent cinematic textures can overgrow and penetrate his floating paper objects and, bound with a sound-sculptural skeleton, form a unitary presence. Lines overlay the projected bodies like a swarm of drawings, following a mysterious motion system. They rear up flickering bright, condense into shaky interference patterns and finally fray at the margins into darkness.
In his latest installation tearing shadows, created for his first exhibition at 401contemporary, Seidel explores the metaphorical counter play of light and dark. As autonomous existences light and shadow compete on the surface of the projection sculptures and, driven by eternal change, create endlessly varied transitional spaces.
For his installations Seidel occupies the existing space and searches for interconnection between real and virtual structures beyond media-based genre boundaries. Whenever he encounters things and situations he concentrates them into abstract forms that draw from an »ocean of raw sense« (Maurice Merleau-Ponty). Thus he takes away the original usability of everyday things and constitutes them as objects of perception. With tearing shadows the artist pulls the medium of drawing – often limited in its existence to a flat, rectangular piece of paper – out of its aesthetic drawer. He clusters a bright, amorphous object into a jagged formation and pits it in its shiftings and stratifications against its strict paradigms. In somnambulistic ways projected drawing gestures and amorphous compartments pervade this real surface, nevertheless denying physics and Euclidean geometry in their movements and transforming the space into a vibrant network, dissolving the clear definition of light and shadow.
First drawn by hand and later deconstructed on the computer, the constantly self-evolving projections follow only vaguely a narrative structure. Rather, they can be seen as associations and memory fragments of Seidel’s innumerable travels, the basis in terms of visual form and content for his installations and abstract films. Initially expressed as a drawn line, painterly gesture or sculptural aggregation, these are then captured on paper, as a photograph, field recording, video or digital object. They serve as a notation with its own system of signs that Seidel has been developing and refining for years. The resulting work reveals itself as a hybrid, challenging the aesthetic consciousness and free associations of the viewer beyond customary categories. Left behind with the relapse into everyday life is a visual and acoustic reverberation for the observer, quietly stirring outside the strict space of rules and coordinates.
»As autonomous existences light and shadow compete on the surface of the projection sculptures and, driven by eternal change, create endlessly varied transitional spaces.«
Ulrike Pennewitz, Exhibition Curator
2-Channel Installation, D 2013, Loop
7,9 × 4,6 × 4,2 m
Film + Sound: Robert Seidel
Location: 401contemporary, Berlin
23 February − 13 April 2013
Gallery: Dr. Ralf-Otto Hänsel, Jasmin Villarroel
Curator: Ulrike Pennewitz
Experimental Film Assistance: Nadine Szabó
Exhibition Setup: David Prytz, Madeleine Fischer
Documentation Camera: Michael Andres
Special Thanks: Robert Berneis, Henrik Mauler, Ehren Fordyce, Zsuzsanna Kirlay
Video installation as part of »Lux Aeterna« (Solo Exhibition), D 2015, Loop, Curator: Claudia Tittel, MAK Gera, Germany, December 4, 2015 – February 28, 2016
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