with Nathalie Grenzhaeuser and Mathias Völcker
PARALLELEN TREFFEN SICH IM UNENDLICHEN by Nathalie Grenzhaeuser and Mathias Völcker opens the series of dialogue exhibitions at AXEL OBIGER in the new year. In the exhibition space, photo and video-based works by the two artists meet. Their approach and artistic implementation are very different, yet there are recurring common themes that they reflect in their respective works, such as the motif of the mirror, the examination of form and space, and the combination of different levels of perception of visible reality. While Nathalie Grenzhaeuser deliberately directs the viewer’s gaze via the perspective and light-specific interventions in her pictorial material, this arises within Mathias Völcker’s works about the materiality and rhythm of what is shown. Starting out from their thematic intersections, a calm, almost meditative atmospheric density develops in their encounter, despite all formal differences. Both artists seek to open up a specific, associative and poetic space of thought for the viewer.
“The fact is that here not only the works of a artist duo are mirrored in each other and reflected to the outside world, but that each of the series mentioned contains an individual mixture of inner and outer world, which brings the viewer into a kind of threshold situation, in which it seems uncertain on which side of which mirror he or she is now standing.” (Gabi Schaffner: Der dritte Raum, from the catalogue Spiegel by Nathalie Grenzhaeuser and Mathias Völcker)
PARALLELEN TREFFEN SICH IM UNENDLICHEN is already the fourth joint exhibition of Nathalie Grenzhaeuser and Mathias Völcker. In the summer of 2016, both exhibited under the title Higher Altitudes at the Fototeca de Cuba in Havana. In the course of their third joint trip to Cuba, Nathalie Grenzhaeuser also created new pictures and video works, which continue her series La Marea (Tides) and will be shown publicly for the first time in the exhibition at Axel Obiger. On view are various urban places in Havana and the province of Guantánamo. With her pictures, Nathalie Grenzhaeuser picks up on the reality of a society in transition in the force field of economic and political realities. Reflections and architectural “barricades” deliberately deny easy readability. Through the composition of her pictorial spaces and the associative connection to the painting of Pittura Metafisica, Nathalie Grenzhaeuser deals with aspects of temporality, reflection and transience beyond the Cuban context. La Marea (tides) refers to a natural phenomenon, the recurring cycle of ebb and flow, which is meant in a figurative sense in the series. “The duration of decay, which is inherent in all things, is subtly visualized here by changed courses of the world or the forces of nature.” (Thomas Schirmböck: Alltagsarchäologie an Fernen Orten, from catalogue Gezeiten, Künstlerhaus Saarbrücken, 2014.)
Mathias Völcker’s photographic object boxes, which enter into dialogue with the Cuban pictures, were created in very different places and in turn show aspects of our everyday present. On display are photographic objects, so-called thread pictures, which derive their tension and associative power from the combination of different materials. Photographic fragments of reality are combined here with sculptural elements. Through the different materiality, levels of reality overlap and enter into an associative connection. Graceful and banal elements are combined with the peculiarities of the everyday and the present in a way that is both humorous and poetic.
In his 9-minute video work Pots, on the other hand, he uses a teapot as a projection surface and lets it slowly rotate on its own axis. In its reflective surface, a film can be seen that combines key scenes from Alfred Hitchcock’s film Vertigo with the high jumpers from Leni Riefenstahl’s film Olympia to form a new film sequence. The motif of free fall in both films, changes through the loop to a recurring motif of loss and disorientation in space and time.
In Nathalie Grenzhaeuser’s video Isla de la Juvendhud (Island of Youth), contemporary history is also connected with the present day Cuban everyday life. Image sequences of the ruins of the once politically important panopticon Présideo Modelo prison follow on from image sequences of the legacies of former boarding schools that served to form a socialist, patriotic youth on the island. Here, too, a shift of meaning is thematized, which, like Mathias Völcker’s Fadenbilder, is poetically and ironically broken up.