With the title »Geh, Gegangen«, (Going, Gone), I formed this cluster of twelve works around a sense of displacement, the physical act of moving, seeking bearings in alien surroundings in twelve steps.
Westwerk was invited in late 2017 to do a group show in Kiel in the artists-run space Haus 8/Atelier im Anscharpark. We called our joint show »Ich bin deine Mutter« (I am your mother). It was the flipside of an exchange between the two groups, an artistic dialogue on the conditions – financial, social, institutional, personal, emotional, physical – affecting artistic production today.
On my first visit to the gallery I was struck by the graphic floor tiling of the venue, formerly the
kitchen for a naval hospital. As such a strong spatial feature it was a challenge to any visual work showing there. It prompted me to include a photograph I had taken in Seville in the early
1990s, at a time when I only took slides. The tiling pattern is also echoed (in varying amplitude) in a foyer of the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Bordeaux, in the floor of a Bordeaux cathedral, in the
shop window of a Halal butchers in Aarhus, on the wall of an operating theatre in a disused clinic in Odder, Denmark, in the cobbled street in Paris beneath graffitied hoardings and in the
chalked geometry for playing hopscotch in the street of Choroni, a coastal village in Venezuela. And not least of all, in a shot of the
secret gap behind the wall (with a glimpse of this very floor) on which I intended to hang my pictures in the exhibition space.
As a motif, tiled floors or walls suggest the opposite of the desire to travel. Their hard, shiny surfaces seem to signal permanence as a purpose to stay. Maybe this insistance on duration or celebration of inertia is what lends tiling a melancholy quality when you discover fragmented remains of their once proud presence in derelict, abandoned or neglected houses. Besides, tiling has been with us since antiquity, its ceramic resilience the mark of desired hygiene and order.
With this ensemble I was trying to trace a gradual progression towards the finished exhibit, incrementally finding the right focus for what I wanted to say in this new »home« away from home. Objects are wrapped up or being uncovered or are cordoned off. At the start (or end?) of my visual journey is a scrappy, haphazard collection of notes and messages pinned to the wall of a small chapel at the top of a long, steep hill on the island of Elba, completing the fourteen stages of the Cross. In twelve stages these photographs marked my own circuitous movement towards this display in Kiel. Going, gone.
Exhibition view »Geh, gegangen« (Going, gone)