State of Matter, 2012. Photo: Joerg Burger
Former water tank, iron, aluminium, wood, LED
Podium: 460 x 1,300 cm, tanks: 190 x 100 x 100 cm each
State of Matter means the description of materials as being solid, liquid or gas. The
title thus suggests questions of materiality, and that is precisely what this
installation toys with. In a different light, the reflective liquid standing in
the inclined steel tanks reveals itself to be a solidified material, solid cast
aluminium, which upon closer inspection bears the grain of wood and hence calls
into question its metallic appearance: surreally playing with materiality, its
perception and meaning. Because as a verb ‘matter’ also means ‘be important or
significant’, and that changes not only with a thing’s form but also with its
materiality, or rather with a shift in our perception.
Yet the artistic intervention has also changed the entire state of the
found steel tanks. Disconnected for decades, completely rusty and long relieved
of their original function, these relics have been restored; their new position
and the alterations made to them has changed their meaning and attribution. The
formerly functional objects that had meanwhile become a burden were transformed
by the artistic process, changing their meaning and value to adopt a different,
new state of matter.
The solidified liquid refers to the tanks’ former use to store water. The
intentional tilting of the containers stems from the objects’ great weight and
age, as if they had sunk into the floor since their previous displacement. The
site-specific wooden beam, which bears the ceiling beneath it, also appears to
tilt and sink into the floor underneath; it is integrated in the installation
along with the tanks. It is as if the viewer were standing in front of relics
from a bygone age, which from certain angels offer surprisingly magical
moments, a flash of mystery and secrets.
The two tanks are connected to one another via their former feeder and
drainage pipes. A pipe system partly laid underground links them as
communicating vessels. The original water is replaced by coagulated metal and
light, which together form a joint circuit through which the conditions of one
vessel appear to have an impact on those in the other – a reciprocal
relationship as might exist between two connected people.
The grey painted floorboards hold the individual elements together, combining
them into an installation in which they stand on a stage like actors to perform
a play together. A two-hander about a shared life. The continuation of the
theatre floor in the form of cast aluminium within the inclined tanks and their
levelling corresponds to liquid’s habit of arranging itself horizontally under
the influence of gravity. However, that the aluminium simultaneously bears the
grain of the wooden boards gives rise to a surprising uncertainty. Natural
phenomena and staged, surreal moments collide.
Depending on where the light falls from the LEDs inserted in the pipes, the
material either appears matte and solid or, when the viewer changes their
position, a shining spectacle of shimmering, quicksilver-like fluid. Actually
very reduced in terms of its aesthetics and materiality, the installation only
comes to magical life when the viewer changes their point of view.
(Text by KRÜGER & PARDELLER from the project dossier, Kunstraum
First presentation in the context of the Buchberger Sommer 2012 [Buchberg
Summer 2012] (exhibition and party 70.40.30)