Inside the distance
Galerie Sabine Knust / München / 14.11.2017-20.1.2018
Kurator: Ory Dessau
Groupshow with Adam Rabinowitz, Lothar Hampel, Gregor Hildebrandt and Ronald de Bloeme
The title Inside the Distance outlines the exhibition’s frame of thought.
Inside the Distance means the world is inaccessible. It presupposes the impossibility of a direct, unmediated experience, as well as its invalidity as a source of knowledge and meaning.
Inside the Distance means that we are fully and inescapably surrounded by screens, filters, barriers, and obstructions, dictating our worldviews, and therefore our actions.
The exhibition’s title alludes to a passage from Walter Benjamin’s seminal essay “The Work of Art in the Age of Technological Reproducibility” (1935), where he distinguishes the perceptual changes following the invention of photography and cinema as ‘the decay of the aura.’ He describes the aura as ‘a unique apparition of distance, however near it may be.’ According to Benjamin, the social basis underlying the decay of the aura as distance in the age of technological reproducibility is linked to the desire ‘of the masses to ‘get closer’ to things, and their equally passionate concern for overcoming each thing’s uniqueness by assimilating it as a reproduction.’
The exhibition takes Benjamin’s definitions and turns them upside down. In the digital era technological reproducibility can no longer maintain the illusion of unveiling, of getting closer to things; it should be taken as a form of inaccessibility emphasizing the fact that we are always, already, inside the distance; that the distance is in the heart of the thing.
The exhibition’s proposition is to examine the works on view from the perspective of distance. Each of the works presented here can be regarded as an act of distancing and as a poetic reflection on the concept of distance.
Olaf Holzapfel’s pictorial configurations of straws collected in Lusatia and Brandenburg are situated on the border between painting and architecture. Flattening three-dimensional spaces and landscapes into two-dimensional linear surfaces, his straw pictures recall partitions or window shades separating and isolating us from that which lies behind them. In this exhibition, Holzapfel’s patterns of straws are combined with one of his hay canvases. The combination creates a structure-like wall installation resonating Holzapfel’s presentation in documenta 14. In the hay canvases distance becomes a material, as ropes of certain lengths are condensed and squeezed into and around frames of other lengths (and widths). Abandoning one- in favor of two-dimensionality, the hay canvases relativize conventional measurements units and expose them as arbitrary.