A) Longitudinal Space as a Perspectival Sluice
The relation of 1:5 between the visually relevant height and the length of the given room (with an approximate relation of 1:4 between width and length) produces a highly perspectival effect. In the vortex produced by the two doors at the front and back ends of the longitudinal room which definitively make the space a corridor, people move at various speeds in both of the principal directions. The front door allows unimpeded entrance, the rear door is inserted into the space in the form of a negatively doubled, enlarged door-frame as a barrier to sight and movement. Five windows on one side cast light on the clear longitudinal rectangle of the opposite wall. This wall surface, consisting of five added squares, is the decisive factor and essential element of the room, and at the same time a relevant fragment of the whole of the wall surface of the (museum) building and a section of an un-dimensionable, unmeasurable (curved) spatial level. The measurement of the longitudinal wall is the first binding parameter.
B) The METALLON pictorial wall
The Greek word metallon means mine, ore mine
a) The module, which bears within itself the idea of a small, manageable panel painting, is the unity which is contradictory to the totality of the wall. The measurements of the module amount to 10 x 21 x 1 cm. In height and width, the dimensions correspond to a third of an A4 format and therefore constitute a widespread standard format. In combination with the depth, these already pre-existent measurements are in themselves artificial, metrical and irregularly symmetrical. Only with the addition of height and depth is the figure 11 cm obtained, 22 cm with the addition of the width and depth. Through this simple mathematical operation a numerical space arises, in which halving, doubling and multiplication are fundamental laws: the act of halving the sum of the three measurements of the module results in the vertical and horizontal distance between the modules.
Their arrangement in a regular matrix committed to the principle of gravity produces a multiplication of the spatial limitations of the wall. Although the individual module emerges from the wall spatially, it opens it in a kind of perforation. It becomes transparent. Entering and exiting seem ambivalent. Through the ornamentation, which becomes functional in this way, the wall transcends the banal determinations of the architectural creation of space. It opens in a new space, opening up to a superordinate reality: that of the limitless above and below, left and right, in front and behind.
In its "parametral condition", the pictorial wall therefore seems to play a double role in the delimiting of the space: on the one hand through forcing the spatial perspective, on the other through its delimited two-dimensionality. Both moments seems to be linked to the idea of a hypothetical multi-dimensional space beyond time and space.
An experimental field of totality is thereby fathomed: the regular repetition of the module and the intermediate spaces with standardised uniform squares is a mathematical form (even if it is intuitively created), which becomes modified in its perspective and sections through the visual effect. The totality of the wall is also limited by the form's projection from the adjacent partition wall. Furthermore, the symmetry arranged within the systematic composition is interrupted by a sequence of diverging vertical coloured strips.
b) Metal as a bearer of exemplary metallic colour (yellow, grey, red and black) is a model of agreement. ONE metal (aluminium) is the starting point for the NUMBER FOUR, which is systematised from the limited variety of natural metallic colours. This produces a work made of metal on metal, using the industrial technique of anodic oxidation. This constitutes a marginalised form of painting - a falsification of surfaces in the service of a truth which is to be newly manufactured. Metals represented by gold, silver, copper and iron - are hard coloured materials and at the same time light-active, even to the point of acting as (indirect) light sources. The apparent contradiction between material and light, which has been reconciled in this material, plays an essential role in its fascination, which goes back to earliest history. There are numerous poetic and metaphorical associations on the aesthetics of the metallic and applications of those aesthetics. Beyond the individual metals, their past and present economic and political significance, their use in painting and artistic handiwork, their true, imitated and falsified contemporary effect in art, design, fashion, packaging and advertising, there are significant holistic ordering systems which, in combination with METALLON, produce a connection to the space-time continuum. Paradoxically enough, we discover these at great temporal and spatial distances. We know about the golden, the silver, the copper and the bronze ages from Ovid's Metamorphoses. Analogous to this are the characterisations of the four doors at the end of the axial streets of the palace fortress of Diocletian (today the old town of Split): the northern gate is the golden age, the eastern the silver, the southern the copper and the western the iron.
In the still existent ancient culture of Bali, which was greatly influenced by India and still permeates all areas of human life there even today, the compass points are essential co-ordinates of life, to which are attributed not only four divinities and four elements etc., but also four metals and four colours. Iron and black for the north, silver and white to the east, copper and red to the south and gold and yellow to the west. The centre is the all-unifying direction of Bali's creation story. From the original unity in which, at the beginning, everything existed within everything, there arose the cosmos, a small-scale image of which is contained in every human being, farmyard, temple, village and in the island.
The complex significance of metal in alchemy has to be considered separately: Sun, Moon, Venus and Mars are the corresponding analogies to the theme of the four out of seven metals in the symbolism of mystical alchemy. Metals serve there as symbols of the processes of the maturation, refinement and transformation of the impure into the pure ("lead" becomes "gold"). In the equally mystifying gnostic alchemy there is mention of the dismemberment of the martyr and the resurrection of the metals, mention of the dead bodies of the metals being awakened from their state of stupefaction. The "Great Work" of alchemy serves the purpose of the redemption of the original material, the materia prima in which the opposites still exist unreconciled in the fiercest antagonism, transformed thereafter into a state of perfect harmony, into the stone of wisdom. Apart from various necessary tasks which have to be performed (calinatio, congelatio, fixatio, solutio, digestio...), there are four phases described in the oldest alchemical writings, corresponding to the manifestations of colour which occur: blackening, whitening, yellowing and reddening. The Arabic alchemist Abu'l-Quasim says: "And this prima materia is found in a mountain which contains an enormous number of different things. In this mountain every kind of knowledge is to be found which exists in the world. There is no science or knowledge, no dream or thought (...) which is not contained therein."
In William Blake, metals serve, among other things, as a metaphor for the precious nature of time and the experience of time, for time as a limited good and for the indivisibility of time, space and matter (see the fragment from William Blake's Milton)
Metals are a special form of material which contain a reference to the universal co-existence of light and matter. They are predestined to arouse thought and feeling and to gather together the consciousness of human beings. They are suitable, in their present unified, model form, to indicate in a variety of ways the hidden unity of the phenomena which is manifest to us on the material level.
This was done long ago by Democritus and today it is tried to be done by physics in its own particularly forcible and fascinatingly incomprehensible manner way.
C) The Stool Series
In a similar way in which the picture wall corresponds to the systematic principle of the Museum for Applied Art, namely in exhibiting materials on a tableau (= Metal Collection), STOOLS reflects a conspicuous, special subject taken from the exhibition rooms: the rows of chairs. As an arrangement of high-quality objects purely for exhibition purpose, they animate one to make a reference with the help of a simply designed, cheap stool which, within the context of the installation, constitutes a meaningful and complementary sculptural element.
The organic and not exactly straight chain of white stools defines the edge of the room along the wall with the windows. The longitudinal direction of the room would then also animate one to walk along the picture wall, if it didn't serve the purposes of the corridor. From the movement results the calculated effect of a time-related permutation, an effect which can be interrupted at as many points as there are stools, by sitting down. Viewing physically utilisable objects which stand in the room is the opposite of viewing utilisable, untouchable painterly objects purely visually. Seeing while standing is different from seeing while walking and this in turn is different from seeing while sitting.
D) The pictorial block TIMES GATE
A door, gate or entrance - in relation to the window - serves as an opening and a closure. Analogous to the opening of a room are the openings of a house, a city, a country or a landscape (Golden Gate and the Iron Gates of the Danube...).
The artificiality of old constructed cities, the plan of the streets and the positioning of the gates often had as their natural basis an earthly-cosmic orientation. The designs follow the square, the circle and the orthogonal cross. All of them are essential forms which can be identified with space-time factors, as is shown on a large-scale by the co-ordinates of the heavens.
The four Latin terms Porta Aurea, Porta Argentea, Porta Aenea and Porta Ferrea, used for the gates of a late-Roman Imperial palace and urban settlement, define the cosmic significance of its principal orientation and the place as its centre. The succession of terms - listed in white letters on black coloured block - is intended to serve as a mental reference and as a gateway to a complex "supersymmetrical" world behind the bare visual splendour of the installation.
The discrepancy is intentional. A blocked-up door is a suitable location for beginning to pose questions.
"(...) Thus a new form entered into the duality of the mirror relationship. A powerful figure: empty, but ready to devour the gentle beam of the reflection in its gaping void; not nothing, but capable of characterising the LIMIT in all of its shapes. The LIMIT distinguishes itself from the edge of a language in the joy of its work, and its consistency in leading the work back to silence, to be perfected in silence, it is nothing else than the work contrasted to what the work is not. The organisation of its equilibrium already includes the work's steep plunge; it thus finds a limitation, which the work can only surround by being removed from itself. (...)"
Michel Foucault, quoted by Joseph Kosuth (Documenta IX)
... every Moment has a Couch of gold for soft repose,
(A Moment equals a pulsation of the artery),
... every Minute has an azure Tent with silken Veils:
And every Hour has a bright golden Gate carved with skill:
And every Day & Night has walls of brass & Gates of
Shining like precious Stones & ornamented with appropriate
And every Month a silver Terrace builded high:
And every Year invulnerable Barriers with high Towers:
And every Age is Moated deep with Bridges of Silver &
And every Seven Ages is Incircled with a Flaming Fire.
Now Seven Ages is mounting to Two Hundred Years.
Each has its Guard, each Moment, Minute, Hour, Day,
Month & Year.
All are the work of Fairy Hands of the Four Elements...
William Blake, Milton (1804), zitiert von Herbert Arthur Klein in "The
Science of Measurement", II / Times in Turmoil, and the Origins of the
"(...) The urge to decorate one's face and everything which is within one's reach is the most basic origin of visual art. It is the babbling of painting. All art is erotic.
The first ornament which was created, the cross, was of an erotic origin. A horizontal line: the prone woman. A vertical line: the man who penetrates her. (...)
But the human being in our times, who as a result of his inner urge smears the walls with erotic symbols, is a criminal or a degenerate. (Loos is here referring to the people of his time who have themselves tattooed, note G.S.). I have discovered the following knowledge and present it to the world: the evolution of culture is of the same importance as the removal of an element of decoration from an object of utility. I thought that in this way new joy could be brought into the world, but the world did not thank me for it. What was oppressive was the perception of the fact that one is unable of producing a new ornament. (...) Every age has its style, should only our age be denied a style of its own? By style one means ornamentation. Here I would say: "Do not weep! See, that is what makes our age so great, the fact that it is not capable of producing a new ornament. We have gone beyond the ornament, we have managed to attain a state which is free of ornamentation. See, the time is nigh, fulfilment awaits us. Soon the streets of the city will gleam like white walls. Like Zion, the holy city, the capital of heaven. Then fulfilment is nigh."
Adolf Loos, quoted by Ernst H. Gombrich, Ornament und Kunst. Schmucktrieb und Ordnungssinn in der Psychologie des dekorativen Schaffens. Stuttgart 1982, p. 73.
"Delphi" is the abbreviation for the Detector for Lepton Photon Hadron Identification - the Association with the oracle at Delphi is neither unintended nor unjustified: just as, in ancient times, one hoped for confirmation of one's wishes for the future from the smoke of the oracle, so the particle physicists expect the experiments they carry out on the Delphi detector in the Cern research laboratory in Geneva to yield the confirmation for their theoretical models. The energy with which one has to accelerate the initial particles corresponds at least to the mass of the particles which one hopes to discover after they have crashed into one another and disintegrated etc.. Among particle physicists, Einstein's equation of energy and mass has long since been adopted into everyday linguistic usage.
The theory upon which almost all physicists at present agree is called the standard model; it unites the theory of electro-magnetic energy and that of weak atomic energy. Gravitational energy and strong atomic energy are not integrated within it. Experiments for a theory which comprises all four types of energy would need far stronger energies. The standard model predicts, for instance, the mass of top quarks (the heaviest of the quarks, i.e. at present, the fundamental particle in the circus of physics) (...)
Susy, strategically sought after: the theory of supersymmetrical particles already goes beyond the standard model, the aim being to unify ferimons ("real" particles of matter) and bosons (particles which cause reciprocity). According to this theory, every particle has a symmetrical particle, the electron has for example a selectron, the photon a photino etc. These supersymmetrical particles are affectionately known as "Susy" by physicists. (...)"
Quoted after Thomas Kramar, "Hoffnung auf Supersymmetrie", in: Die Presse, Vienna 2.9.1997.