Galerie Raum mit Licht

 

CLAUDIA LARCHER

»KOLLAPS«

Opening: Wednesday, 23.05.2018, 18.30
Exhibition: 24.05 – 06.07.2018

Filmprogramm im Kino der Fotogalerie Wien
12. Juni bis 14. Juli 2018:

Baumeister (2012)
8 min 31 sek

Self (2015)
7 min 50 sek

Collapsing MIES (2018)
10 min
Guided Tours with Claudia Larcher

Saturday, 2 June (11 a.m.-12 p.m.)
Friday, 8 June (4-6 p.m.)
Saturday, 9 June (11 a.m.-12 p.m.)
Friday, 15 June (4-6 p.m.)
Saturday, 16 June (11 a.m.-12 p.m.)
Image © Claudia Larcher aus der Serie MIES, »sketch No 01« (2017)
kollaps
bis zum kollaps nicht viel zeit
kollaps
unsre irrfahrten zerstören die städte
und nächtliches wandern
macht sie dem erdboden gleich

schlag schneller schrei lauter leb schneller
bis zum kollaps nicht viel zeit
wir sind die neuen goldenen horden
diesmal ohne dschingis khan
bis zum kollaps nicht viel zeit

Einstürzende Neubauten, 1981


At first glance there are no signs of a collapse, nothing collapsing, no destruc-tion. Claudia Larcher shows isolated architectural elements instead. They are delicate, as if dissected, removed from their original context, with a scalpel. The video animation Collapsing Mies (2018) is based on photographs showing views of buildings by Mies van der Rohe: details from interiors and latticed structures of entire façades are mounted on and over one another. These fragments speak in combination with telling details — the Barcelona Chair, for instance, or a wall of reddish onyx — of the modernist dream of efficiency, transparency and elegance. It is not the camera and with it the observer that moves through immobilized, static spaces, the individual elements of the buildings themselves are mobile. They turn slowly on their own axes, sliding into one another, all the while increasing in number.

In this video, as in the series Mies (2017), Claudia Larcher sets in motion a complex shift between two and three dimensionality. Starting from two-dimensional photographic depictions of built architecture, she constructs new spaces that follow neither the laws of statics nor those for imitating nature. Her paradox spatial structures force the viewer to wonder often about the individual elements of the images: whether they are to be found at the 'front' or the 'back', whether they are 'inside' or 'outside', whether they show small sections or entire buildings.

In the series Collapse (2018) the artist also plays with these spatial and optical effects. She layers façade structures, stairwells and other structural elements of modern architecture over one another, whereby fabric serves as both support and raw material for montage. The rigor of built architecture meets the elasticity of textiles. This causes individual elements to appear wavy and distorted or as if it were in the process of disintegrating. Furthermore, the use of fabric evokes the principle of the curtain wall, a building type of the 20th century in whose march to victory Mies van der Rohe, inter alia, was instrumental.

By working with found photographs from print media Claudia Larcher throws a double glance back into history — to what has been built and was considered to be newsworthy. The artist removes all traces from the images that might indicate people and so of the buildings' usability. Any indication that the buildings might belong to different times is also absent — when they were built as well as any present everyday use. So Larcher's glance backwards remains arrested in the past. That each is another Chronotopoi is clearly shown in the extensive work complex Baumeister, on which the artist has been working since 2012.

A year of the architecture journal Baumeister provides the basis for one of the series. Larcher cuts everything out of each issue that does not show built architecture — blocks of text, margins, plants, people, fixtures and fittings — and arranges the remaining pages behind one another in a frame with only a few millimetres distance between each. The individual montages achieve depth without being subjected to a unifying viewpoint. The resulting effect is comparable to that of an old stage set or paper theatre. However, while scenographic design tasks are always in relationship to the human body, in the series Baumeister the proportions remain undefined. In contrast — on surveying whole series or on comparing individual ones — characteristics can be determined that identify the period when individual issues were produced: types emerge, architecture trends become visible, there are shifts in preferences for particular materials and forms of building, but also in the way planned as well as completed projects are illustrated.

The edition The New Indonesian House (2017) was created according to a similar principle. Larcher holds firmly onto the formal manifestation of the book for this project. The leafing through the publications leads to a sequential, stacked reception that is lent both filmic and haptic qualities. A large format double-page spread is also displayed on a wall in the exhibition Kollaps. Viewers are invited to not only survey the space with their gaze but to relate, themselves, to the image with their own bodies. The same applies to Panorama Lampshade (2018), a lampshade that displays popular 19th century visual media while also engaging with the relationship between architecture, Fine Art and design. It is telling in this context that Walter Benjamin explained on the basis of architecture, how the progressive counterpart to contemplative reception was to be presented: "Buildings are appropriated in a twofold manner: by use and by perception — or rather, by touch and sight. ...Tactile appropriation is accomplished not so much by attention as by habit." Larcher not only creates individual images but also explores different media and forms of presentation, she also enables the viewer to adopt different approaches to architecture.

Yes — at first glance there may be nothing to see of the collapse in the title to Claudia Larcher's exhibition, nothing collapsing, no destruction. However, regardless of whether a video, framed montage or wall installation, her compositions in the space have that concrete yet highly unreal quality of dreams. They do not depict the collapse of particular buildings but stand for the collapse of Modernist architectural paradigms. In this they are reminiscent of the fantastic architecture of Piranesi's Carceri (1759 and 1761). These exaggerated the structures of antiquity into the monumental and left principles of composition based on central perspective behind in favour of principles used in stage design, recoursing to ancient architecture to shed light on contemporary forms of building. Larcher's complex composition in the space does not have a unifying viewpoint in front of the picture. Instead, several images, spaces and times coincide. The heterotopias built in this way can be understood as an indication that it no longer makes sense to maintain a Modernist line of thinking. Or, to use the words of the Einstürzenden Neubauten, "we are the new golden hoards".


*    Benjamin, Walter: The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. Quoted here from www.marxists.org/reference/subject/philosophy/works/ge/benjamin.htm (Translated by Harry Zohn).


(Text Gudrun Ratzinger 2018)