Unbenannte Seite

Ulmann-Matthias Hakert

Space, Light, Time

The works of Gunda Förster define visibility as the elementary organization of space, light and time. Seeing is movement, which encounters the movement of the seen.

One walks along benighted streets, past darkened and brightly lit windows, rooms illuminated by the flickering of television screens, under lighted billboard advertisements and neon signs, between the headlights of moving automobiles. In the way the gaze turns from the stars, whose light has outlived their extinguishment, Gunda Förster's works with light remove the plastic phenomenon from things occurring. The images of urban tranquillity, behind each window a life, drawn to and distracted by advertisement, on its way from one location to another, are wiped away with a gesture of minimalistic reduction. The pure form arising out of this regards itself as compatible with the artistic realm and designs it as one set aside for art—a cross-section of the producer's and the observer’s experiences.

That Förster’s recent works with 35 mm. slides can be understood as a shift to narrative or representational image forms is as self-evident as taking the images transmitted via television for reality. The concepts interspersed into
> VARIATIONS OF CHANCE play into the futility of an observation intent on finding meaning.

Both the presentation, a projection time of one to two seconds per slide with fadeovers, and the quality of the images and concepts evade the presumptive reliability of the pairing of photography and text. The words come across as slogans which allow the bid to vanish into a surplus of possible connotations. The image fragments do not tack meanings onto the concepts (found language fragments), but rather strengthen their repellancy as typefaces depicting only potentially significant language sounds, which in turn reinforce the impression that the more or less blurred representationalism of the slides (for the most part people photographed from television screens) merely refers to the tautology of the visible and of light.

The continually shifting references between word and word, word and image, image and image render any compulsive production of meaning futile. The observer is left with the single insight: that his understanding fails on account of an incomprehensible compositional principle. Indeed, the impression of merely accidental and unstable word and image combinations could be described in a complex mathematical form as a sequence of variations—and, hence, as the visualization of a musical idea.

Catalogue text
Made in Berlin
Rethymnon Centre for Contemporary Art, Kreta (GL), 1998
House of Cyprus, Athen (GL), 1999