When Our Eyes Touch, Is It Day Or Is It Night?
Opening Wed, 21 March at 7 p.m.
With works by
Bernhard Hosa, Olena Newkryta
Location Galerie Raum mit Licht, Kaiserstraße 32, 1060 Vienna www.raum-mit-licht.at
Duration March 22, 2018 – May 5, 2018
With Olena Newkryta and Bernhard Hosa, Galerie Raum mit Licht presents a juxtaposition of two artistic positions anchored in different ways in a conceptual approach, assimilating and expanding them decisively. Both artists engage with the unintelligible, the fleeting and concealed, the traces of which are not to be found in the rational dimensions of the idea but in the material manifestation and in the sensual.
Olena Newkryta develops conceptual performative works, always referencing the societal and also latently political issues raised by the medium. She is interested in current realms of experience, in the possibilities for exchange, touch, being absent, and the material traces of these. Through surfaces that change on every contact and with each glance at them, Newkryta collects fleeting memories of the interaction between the viewers and her works. She uses a hand-scanner to scan the surface of concealed people or makes portraits of people using photographic negatives applied to the skin. Insofar as the touch itself provides the raw material and is addressed directly, Newkryta’s approach reflects a politics of the medium and of the body. In her most recent cycle, when she depicts anonymous photographers as they disappear together with the apparatus beneath the black cloth in order to see the image on the viewfinder of a large-format camera, a paradoxical characteristic of photography becomes clear: the author is swallowed, so to speak, the moment they select their subject.
Bernhard Hosa also uses the essential feature of the medium of photography and film, the capacity to capture fleeting moments in an image. Vague forms appear from nowhere on a monitor, sometimes here, sometimes there. As if driven by an invisible force, they spread out in patches and streaks, slowly becoming uniformly circular in shape only to disappear the very next moment. When this reminds one of a kind of ephemeral manifestation of constructivist forms and paranormal phenomena, the question arises as to the origins and the author of these images and patterns of distribution. His three-dimensional collages of fragmented memories of body parts, details from documentary photographs of paranormal phenomena, scratched and painted traces, and smooth quadratic shapes seem like constructs but remain in the realm of the occult. Hosa’s approach is rooted in a post-conceptual understanding of art that he leaves behind and reinterprets. In his works with supernatural metaphysical elements, the memory of programmatic comprehensibility and of constructive aesthetics combines in a self-differentiating unity.
Newkryta’s and Hosa’s works incorporate different approaches to the concealed. There are two differing views of the natural inherent in the material and physically anchored characteristics of visual art and the possibilities of touching idea and materiality. This is why the title of the exhibition quotes Jacques Derrida’s question, which comprises the point of departure for his engagement with the notion of touch and the problem of the relationship of the psyche to the body: When our eyes touch, is it day or is it night?
Text: Anna Spohn