Concept & Thanks & Legal Notice

Screen Check

Mathias Hartmann
vanish, 2017
screen printing, oil paint on acrylic glass, 48 x 468 cm

Video by Ivan Syrov, music and motif by Mathias Hartmann

 (…) The work of Mathias found its medium in the long light-box above the SEEN THROUGH window, which was installed by the previous tenants. Back when we were moving in six years ago, we laboriously managed to scrape off the adhesive foil on that light-box. Since then this acrylic-glass-white light-box didn't have an utilization. (…)

 (…) In an ensemble with surrounding elements like the stone facade and the windows, this work found its most suitable place, fitting the exact dimensions of the light-box. Incidentally this work was originally printed on a long paper stripe. (…)

 (…) One could argue that this is also a purpose of art - Finding an empty space. (…)

 (…) The graphic motives processed for the silk screen mostly originate from the artist's private stock of photographs. This personal, emotionally charged relatedness gets lost through sequential composition and the reproductional characteristics of the silk screen method.. (…)

 (…) The interval timer of the light-box is labeled with “Reklame” (an old-fashioned german term for advertisement, which focuses on promoting a product rather than trying to solicit the viewer). Today the term “Werbung” is more common in Germany.. (...)

 (…) As advertisements were spread by the mass media more and more broadly, this term fell into disrepute. e.g., magazine readers were complaining that there are only ads on each page, and radio transmissions would be constantly interrupted by commercials etc. Through the appliance of new suggestive psychological methods the character of advertisement changed, changing the german term itself into “Werbung”, which derives from the verb “werben” - which can be translated as 'to appeal to someone' (also used to describe the mating process of humans and animals alike) - this connotation seems substantially more suitable today. (...)

 (…) In Mathias' work “vanish” the allegedly personal-emotional merges with the literal exhibition of 'commerce'. It thereby addresses the reproduction of the personal / individual through various media like film, music and advertisement. (...)

Das Zebra streifen

Hannah Zenger
1230 Grad, 2016
77 plates of porcelain, powder from rocks, rocks, 160 x 140 cm

Helen Weber
seen through, 2016

Photos by Hannah Zenger and Ivan Syrov

 (…)Hannah’s strict, geometrical arrangement of burnt plates of porcelain, brings materials of various stones she collected on her travels, to focus. Helen’s work seeks to visualise the act of travel, while emphasising the surroundings in transit. The work therefore takes place in a open area, without the confines of a room, essentially conveying the process of walking. (…)

 (…) The notion of consecutively presenting these two aspects in the window of SEEN THROUGH, was unfortunately unable to take place due to the difficulty in rendering Helen’s work. After contemplating various possibilities, both together and separately, we were unable to find a suitable presentation form for the show window. However, any process, including failure, can still be considered a result, especially in the world we live in today. The objects which can now be seen in the show-window, are simply remains of the course of the experiment. (…)

 (…) Our involvement with Helen’s and Hannah’s diverse artistic practices and works resulted in a rediscovery of ‘the pedestrian science’, initially established by Lucius Burkhardt. The movement of one’s own body, seeing while in movement and reflecting upon what has been seen during this movement. All of these aspects encourage the urge to participate. After all, museum viewers want to be more than the mere two eyes watching from the side-lines, but instead, invited to participate as an active counterpart. (…)

 (…) In retrospect, this seems to be a process which also appears in recent art history. Hannah’s works,“1230 Degrees”, touches on the so-called ‘Universal Language of Abstraction’ and its effort to make the invisible, visible. From this moment on, a new realm of possibilities opened to art. In the 1960’s, the world was virtually divided amongst artists: Pop Art claimed symbols of mass society, Yves Klein’s, “The Sky”, creates an infinite and immaterial painting on the beach, in which he autographs the blue Mediterranean sky, thus declaring his first and greatest monochrome. Remaining within this perspective, Land Art worked with a combination of landscape and nature, Zero, with kinetics and light, Arman – the waste, Tinguely – machines, Haacke – politics, whereas object and performance artists, like Marcel Duchamp and Dada took the stage. Today, these forms of media and material are considered common practice in art production, however they had only begun to reach their artistic potential back then. (…)

 (…) Due to their thematic similarities, both Hannah, as well as Helen, owe very much of their own direction to this art expansion. However, they differ greatly in their implementation. As Hannah’s migration and transformation process materialises into a final concrete display, Helen’s works disintegrate as soon as they are attempted to be held in one place. In contrast to Hannah’s souvenir transposed ceramics, Helen’s walk is an artistic format of movement, unable to be held within the bounds of a frame - you must walk along the path with her. (…)

 (…)As I walk around the neighbourhood, I notice the occasional model ship, placed in the windows, and somehow I pity them. Even more peculiar, are the birdcages placed at the windowsill, forcing the birds within to constantly stare out, as their potential freedom flies by. In this sense, Helen’s work is comparable to the birds, the window, its cage, locked in, gawking at our freedom. However, on the evening of 21.12.2016, we will hold a screening of her film, shot while jogging along her path, that she titled, “seen through, 2016”.  (…)

Big Rock

Sören Hiob
Talking Sculpture, 2014
paper towels, flour paste, chicken wire, ca. 80 x 200 cm

Video by Sören Hiob

O Town

Steffen Kugel
(t)own people, 2013 / 2015
various glazed pottery, font on wall, various dimensions

Photos by Steffen Kugel, Ronald Kolb, Ute Zeller von Heubach

 (…) Now we presented two successive sculptural works in our display window. Unlike the previous presentations of pottery heads from Steffen Kugel, made for SEEN THROUGH and based on other ceramics from his work, which he constantly rearranged and felt awkward about because of the form of presentation behind the display window - the working process on Sören Hiob’s sculpture, which is currently on display, dates back. The big sculpture was brought from his studio and placed behind the window in its original form. (…)

 (…) Sören’s sculpture appears very biomorphic in its shape and surface. (…)

 (…) As far as art is concerned, I like it when something is “out of time” and can stand alone. Just like the monolith in Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. There’s this monolith that appears in this primitive world und no one knows what to do with it. But no one can get around it as well. (…)

 (…) With regard to aesthetics, Kubrick’s monolith is the absolute opposite of its environment: geometric, shining with a polished surface, clean. Sören’s work is none of that. In fact it adapts to the window and its surroundings. The brown-grey tones look as if they were taken from the outside wall. With regard to methods, though, there’s a proximity to the monolith: you cannot get past Sören’s sculpture because of its size and a shape that is hard to fathom, a shape that doesn’t fit into the rather geometrical urban surroundings. (…)

 (…) Even though we are dealing with a sculpture, i.e. three-dimensionality, it is not palpable because of the distance, placed behind the window. We can also not circle around it – only limited perspectives can be seen through the windowpane. (…)

 (…) This big sculpture, centrally filling the window, rather invites passers-by to stop and look. The initial impression of something highly visible makes way for the inconceivability of its form. The object’s sheer size and its placement in the middle indicate a common presentation behind a display window, the ambiguity of its form (as it then cannot be classified), however, revokes the conventions. I would describe the process like this: the passer-by discovers this huge, seemingly floating rock (because he cannot help but discover it: size is always also an overpowering strategy), then he tries to understand it (which is impossible) und generally walks on. The ambiguity of the form is a vital factor, the size of the sculpture ensures the attraction. (…) It was exactly the opposite with the group of small sculptures Steffen Kugel created: at first, you hardly notice them, they are arranged at the frames – only discovery-sensible passers-by will see the sculptures (or children, as they are placed on their level). However, at first glance you will initially only notice sketchily small mud balls  - only with a closer look you can see the arrangement of groups of faces and the word “town”. Thus all of this appears very concrete. (…)

  (…) Looking at Sören’s work makes me think of the “Barberini Faun”, a marble statue of a young man lying on a rock in an outstretched position, which was created 200 years B.C in Greece. His demeanour seems provokingly lascivious, his head dropped on his shoulder, reaching over his head with his right arm. His left arm was damaged and is missing but hung across the rock at the side. The strange whole unit of the sculpture appears as if blurred like a similarly biomorphic figure. (…)

 (…) My impression of Sören’s work in the SEEN THROUGH window is an image for two domains: the outside world and in return the core, a “world of thoughts” – which means some kind of idea of a centre and periphery. The periphery is there to fight something out and this in return will have an effect on the core. (…)

 (…) Sören Hiob’s sculpture is designed as a movie character. It is to act like a figure in a narration - to embody something and tell a tale, like a star in a film. A certain weight in character shows in the figure, it is hard to grasp. It would indeed be capable of playing big parts. Its first in 2014 eloquent commitment could be heard in the artist’s video “Talking Sculpture”. (…)

Pool Video and Text about the Pool Video

Zayne Armstrong
Revisiting the Pool, 2013
EDTV video, 16:9, 29.97fps, color, with sound, 12 mins 29 seconds

Compendium for Revisiting the Pool, 2015
EDTV video, 16:9, 29.97fps, color, 12 mins 29 seconds

Video by Zayne Armstrong

 In “Pool Video and Text about the Pool Video”, a commissioned work for SEEN THROUGH, commentaries about Zayne Armstrong's work "Revisiting the Pool" can be found.

 While “Revisiting the Pool” can be seen online, “Compendium for Revisiting the Pool” only can be seen inside SEEN TROUGH window for now.

The Best Things in Museums are the Windows*

Joseph Egan
Bonnard's Advice, 2013
oil paints on 32 boards, each appr. 100 x 4 x 2 cm, installation dimension variable

* The exhibition title is a quote from Pierre Bonnard.

Photo by Bernhard Kahrmann

 (…) The first piece of work we have selected from an artist is now on view in our display window. And with this piece, we have gotten as close to the street as possible: the 32 unplaned, oil-painted boards by Joseph Egan, titled “Bonnard’s Advice,” are lined up right against the window in a row. For the viewers outside of the glass, the boards seem to be leaning slightly towards them. The wood seems so close, it is as if there was no glass between inside and out. (…)

 (…) From the first glance, the strength of the colours is striking, and none of that intensity is lost when viewed through the windowpane. The piece is most prevalent in the morning, when the sun shines light through the glass, and allows the work to fill the entire space from the window to the other side of the street, where the boards are also clearly visible. (…)

 (…) I hardly notice that this work is composed of multiple parts. The composition of colours, and the way in which they work together so harmoniously, allows the piece to work as one solid whole. What is also interesting is the multi-methodical composition of the work: the boards determining the rhythm for the entire piece..(…)

 (…) We – inside the office – get to look at the back of the work. The colours cast a warm glow onto the space. We took the liberty of changing the composition of boards, though only strictly in accordance with Joseph’s specifications. Joseph saw his piece as an (musical) instrument that works in an ensemble with its respective surroundings, and select aspects may be altered according to certain game rules (the order is set, but the alignment of the individual boards may be altered). In this way, the work divides the window, setting the rhythm on both sides of the display glass. Pedestrians view the work with tilted heads while walking by and appear to us only as shadows. (…)

 (…) I find Joseph’s explicit reference to Bonnard fascinating. The strong sensual qualities of the work, along with bright colour, materiality and spatial reference are here the application. Being that the reference that was of importance to Joseph, I would like to add something about this source.
The French painter Pierre Bonnard wished to avoid a hierarchical structure within his paintings. He composed his images by painting abstract ribbons of colour first and then constructed the following details without a consistent focal point. The close and flexible sight dominates. Peripheral objects and humans are then depicted with the same attention. (…)

 (…) Bonnard was a voyeur – this is reflected in his art: he captures the fleeting moment and makes the random look picturesque, just as some street photographers nowadays with their hidden cameras. – Exactly as in his own life: when he bought a house, he went to great lengths to have it converted into some kind of “Viewing Machine”. Doors, windows and mirrors where placed anywhere possible in order to keep every nook within his view. The bathroom is extremely exposed, and he ceaselessly observed his wife whenever she used this room. (…)

 (…) Interestingly, the window being partially blocked by Joseph’s work creates an even stronger impulse to look in (or out) through the glass. Because the field of vision is impeded, one wishes to know what is behind the boards. Your discovery of Bonnard’s house as converted Viewing Machine also finds its context here. (…)

 (…) The synchronicity of parts, the leveling of motifs and the avoidance of hierarchy – these aspects characterize many of Bonnard’s works, and all are inherent to Joseph’s piece presented in our window: 32 almost uniform boards positioned a row, all of them equally visible. And of course the window, in the way we use it, is used as a type of panoptical interface shared by those who are inside and those who are out, though it is never clear who is viewing and who is being viewed. (…)

Prologue: Vor Uns (Here Before Us)

Ronald Kolb
untitled, 2014
9 pieces, each: construction paper, 42 x 21 cm, in total: 42 x 190 cm

Ute Zeller von Heubach
blow back, 2014
9 pieces, each: oil on canvas, 60 x 30 cm, in total: 60 x 270 cm

Video done by Markus Milcke

 (…) Our intention with the prologue of our curatorial project seen through was to find out how we could work with the conditions of our display window, to see what could be achieved, and how this project (as seen from the outside) could stand on its own. It would be obvious to revert back to one of your pieces of work: somehow it would feel safer choosing work from someone else while working in this circumstance. On the other hand, it appears to serve as a further development of our cooperation with the publication series felt, where we present and document your artistic work as a printed publication. (…)

 (…) To me, it’s interesting to see how the individual parts of your exhibited work have come together. These are basically just lost fragments of a larger installation piece to be presented in Zurich next year. We’re seeing work related to your “Autobahn” installation, though not implicitly so. To me, these nine pieces appear erratic when compared to the consistency of the “Autobahn” (“Highway”) installation. (…)

 (…) Shadows are cast onto the selected pieces, (I call this work “blow back”) creating black shadows on a white background. seen through doesn’t show flat monochrome paintings, or paved roadway, because the street already has presence here. The passers-by are moving in the street and the window is a facet, a still-image in the corner of their field of vision. Only the tip of the corrugated piece can be seen in the window, which seems to create a detour into the interior space – your workroom. (…)

 (…) To put it another way, one could say the potential in this configuration is in the foreground and not in the monotony of the street. At least this meshes with my thought process while driving. I usually do not see the landscape or the concrete, but instead envision spaces with possibility: what would my life be like if I lived in this village? How would I be different if I looked at this hill every day? etc. (…)

 (…) I like the possibility for excursion that these spaces offer. I know it well – I often wish that I could stop and walk through the landscape. It’s like the bored and weary feeling one has on dreary, soaked day: one looks out of the window and waits for the sun. (…) Such excursions are also a part of my creative and reflective processes. To use the highway once more as an analogy: when you’re driving down the freeway it is extremely difficult to associate every decision, each change in speed or gear, with a conscious choice. These trained, automatic behaviors allow us to instinctively know where to go. Running to parallel to this orientation, are the stray paths, and mental reservations, which grant one to happily embrace a type of “productive disorientation” (…)

 (…) The potency of the work is also in its the multi-faceted character: nine painted canvases of the same format aligned, indicating an infinite chain of possibilities. (…) The potential for monotony is a pre-condition of this piece and not a contradiction. (…)

 (…) Now we also see your work made of construction paper on the wooden rack in the window. Apparently, it emerged from your confrontation with „blow back“ and for me, it abstracts the vague, mysterious facets of my images, and reduces them to the respective middle grey value. (…)

 (…) However, this work on paper also takes up the formal aspects of “blow back”. The proportions of the individual parts in relation to the overall piece and grey value have become smaller, but the piece is laid out flat on the floor – it’s not on a wall or up in the air and therefore seems less load bearing. Based on your rather poetic impression of the work (in spite or because of the rather monochrome oil painting?) the work on paper appears more like a concrete spatial appropriation to me. (…)

 (…) With regards to the work on paper, I feel that it has been reduced to its essential parts, which is in contrast to the nature of oil paintings that are always equipped with a certain content – even if they only composed iridescent shades of grey. And the paper is also manufactured and not hand-made. (…) In this way your version, your “pictorial” reply comes across as a personal echo, and not as a copy. You saw something that challenged you. (…) Created by the tension between our two differing approaches, and from “Gesprächen mit Bildern” (talks with pictures) – a third piece of work. (…)