Galerie Raum mit Licht

 

CLAUDIA LARCHER & HUBERT LOBNIG

»IN RELATION TO PLACES AND TIME«

Opening: Wednesday, 14 January 2015, 19:00
Exhibition: 15 January – 28 February 2015

Image © Hubert Lobnig (2011)
Two artists meet in the exhibition In Relation to Places and Time, Claudia Larcher and Hubert Lobnig, enhancing their understanding of the alterability of architecture and spatial volumes, and consequently also the reception of their subject matter.
Claudia Larcher shows several collages sourced from the images of single issues of different architecture journals. She has based the dimensions of her work on the formats of the various publications and also retained the images' positions relative to one another in the print media concerned. The deserted architectural motifs no longer function as cultural historical testimonies, nor do they fulfil the archival mandate intrinsic to them; in their translation into artworks they develop instead all the more emphatic intrinsic relationships which both promote and challenge the constructing gaze, with the three-dimensional layering of the images of architecture commemorated through appropriation the artist's work ultimately becomes an object itself. Here — starting with the architecture — she alludes to the constructing photographic view of precisely that, revealing a meta-level when she extracts constructs of architecture images for further constructive use while the collaged body of the image articulates itself as a volume through its densification in the actual space.
Similar architecture collages are to be found in another work, entitled Panorama, the shape of which can be identified as a hanging lamp object: Analogous to the design item it references, light breaks in the shade in the collage application, whereby the space inside is perceived through the mask of the constructed space outside to allude to the presence of the architecture that has been brought indoors — both in the masking of the shade like a reversed diorama, as well as in the interconnection with the concrete object. So, through the artist the private gallery space with its subjective oriented reception is polyvalently occupied as a public space where the idea of the inner light also becomes significant to the world outside, not only in its original form but also in its artistically embellished version.
In addition, Claudia Larcher shows the video Vier Skizzen für ein Stiegenhaus [four sketches for a stairwell], which was produced during her exhibition at the Weisse Haus in Vienna. As is her praxis, she scans the architecture with her camera to remove elements from the background in the image to rearrange and ultimately animate it to correspond with the experience of the actual space of the building. The notion of the moving image may be understood literally here as the implied camera movements are not actually such but individual photographs taken in the stairwell that have been digitally re-assembled. If the relationship to the topography of the image determines the construction of the architecture collage, then the montage is its chronological counterpart: the latter not being regarded as the positioning of various cuts but generates itself in the animation of the image in the video itself, and is emphasised in the process by the use of a still image that is not real, whereby a chronological reading of the architecture first becomes possible — without wanting to copy the method of film-making. The stairwell as a place of transition and as a motif fits into the formally unedited montage of the individual images, and simultaneously provides the shared pivotal moment for both of the artists.
In his work Die Treppe [the staircase] Hubert Lobnig adopts the same motif, although the implementation is different for his video installation. The video shows the artist while he is walking down the staircase, and is projected onto a freestanding video wall — consisting of two parallel glass panels, one lined-up behind the other. The panels are subdivided into a grid consisting of nine fields. The projection alternates in sections between the foremost and the hintermost surfaces due to foil mounted on the sheets of glass, the images incrementing each other. The complete projected image is effectively fragmented into two layers and different sections, calling to mind Otto Pächt's topos of the discontinuing room, where space is generated through the positioning of obstructions and edges and the avoidance of gradation within the painting. However not only the discontinuity of the staggering of the stairs is translated into the installation: the image itself adheres to a similar fragmented formal and aesthetic moment when the full-frame video image is split into a number of smaller fields on two levels that line up with the individual elements in the projection. Whereby the video tracks start at different times, repeating or also overlapping on the back — resulting from the angle of the projection. These superimpositions and temporal overlaps not only contribute to the spatial constitution of the installation as a translation of the stairs, but they can also be experienced acoustically: Pacing down individual steps generates a polyphony of footsteps. These footsteps can be heard on the video's soundtrack, employing the notion of the resonance chamber to relate more strongly to the actual space than to meta-levels. This is further emphasised by the use of the motif itself as an anchoring in the space when only the artist's decent is shown — the staircase indeed being symbolically loaded in Western cultures with the path to transcendence. Accordingly, the artist demonstrates the deconstruction of the moving image and its temporal levels in favour of the space when the centripetal forces of the — otherwise legible as culture historically ambivalent — grid confirm the inner breach in the system of time.
Another work shown by Hubert Lobnig was completed during a trip of several months to New York, where the artist had the opportunity to observe, over longer periods of time, solitary scenes and interactions on the city's roofs with the view through a camera — although this is illegal. Chimneys, aerials and ventilation systems form a macrocosm, a miniaturised urban landscape, the model-likeness of which is heightened by the expanse of flat roofs. This sense of surface is largely based on the colouring, as the roofs are painted in a uniform silver paint to keep the buildings cool, which makes the area in the black-and-white photograph appear flatter than it is and echoes the silver coloured paintings completed at the same time as the photographs were taken. Once again, it is his discontinuous view that does not see the roof simply as such but that begins to analyse the architecture in detail.
So, the deconstruction of architecture occurs in Hubert Lobnig's individual images as well as in his video installation, temporal bridges are accentuated to encompass the space's presence and the people who live there, while with her motif-based counterpart Claudia Larcher describes a meta-level of the moving image that still takes a semiotic approach to the human subject — as is the case in her collages.

Text of Andreas Müller