ARBEITEN AUS DEM BLEISTIFTGEBIET (works from the pencil zone)
2 – 30 July 2011

Saâdane Afif, Jan Albers, Carl Andre, Matthias Bitzer, Berta Fischer,
Jean-Pascal Flavien, Axel Geis, Frank Gerritz, Kristjàn Gudmundsson,
Falk Haberkorn, Gregor Hildebrandt, Jürgen Krause, Alicja Kwade,
Adam McEwen, Bruce Nauman, Christian Pilz, Diogo Pimentão, Hannu
Prinz, Evariste Richer, Jens Risch, Bojan Sarcevic, Thomas Scheibitz,
Jan Schmidt, Jorinde Voigt, Thomas Zitzwitz

The “Mikrogramme” of the Swiss poet and novelist Robert Walser (1878-1956) are an inspiration for this group exhibition. The dense form of his pencil writings made it almost impossible (for the executor) to read them at all. The notes were lathed into tiny ornaments and first had to be deciphered and decoded so that content could emerge out of the abstract form. “Aus dem Bleistiftgebiet” is the title of Walser’s currently available complete edition. Gregor Hildebrandt, curator of the exhibition, follows the instruction of the title, steals the title from the book, covers the name of the author with the word “Arbeiten” (works) and in turn delivers a central chiffre for understanding the exhibition.

The works of the exhibited artists, gathered by Gregor Hildebrandt for the group show at VAN HORN, deal – to a greater or lesser extent – with things hidden and ciphered. The works are held together in a certain key which reflects the workings of graphite and the tone of the material. This simultaneously describes the visible qualities, character and temperament of the grey-black material. The compression, the deepness and the multilayeredness lying in it shimmer through in almost every single piece of work.

Motive and content are not immediately ascertainable, they have to be deciphered or they have to be accepted as an empty space, as a riddle, a secret. However, what you can feel is an emotional unity, a ringing feeling that connects the works. The soft, dull or metallic shimmering mineral appears as a storage of information that never shows as a whole. It stays covered underneath a dense surface which we can only guess about. As a transmitter of emotions it needs the human being, his memory, empathy and sensibility. Geometric or figurative, accurate or blurred, clear or unclear … the works start murmuring with each other, we can eavesdrop, listen and be a part of. But what do the cylindric vases keep secret?

In this exhibition you will find small whittled and lathed pencil leads and fat silk-knots, vase-like ceramic spouts and geometric acrylic objects. There are heavy graphite objects, a table, collages, an energy saving lamp, a necklace of graphite stones and small edgy wooden cubes. A small grey picture is shown that shows the naked upper body of a woman with wild curly hair, whose nakedness is layered, neutralized, broken and pushed into the background by a geometric circle pattern. Finally a figure – and immediately it is no longer intact (whole). The erotic flirting between the beholder and the woman is disturbed by the strict geometric art circles.

There remains a seductive shimmer – the pencil-zone is like an undiscovered country whose topography in space and time only shows slowly, a topography that asks to be dicovered, reconnoitre and deciphered.

Text: Katja Behrens Lector: Klaus Malonek Translation: Dean Cronin Taher