until 06.06. | #2882ARTatBerlin | Haus am Waldsee presents from 18th October 2020 the exhibition INTO SPACE by the sculptors Berta Fischer, Björn Dahlem and Naum Gabo.
“Into Space” deals with man’s longing for space, for weightlessness, distant galaxies and the belief in hitherto incomprehensible energies beyond our perception. Three sculptors reflect the interfaces between art and science over a century and from Berlin. Following the exhibition “Lynn Chadwick, Hans Uhlmann, Katja Strunz”, which explored the subject of “Fold” at Haus am Waldsee in 2019, Björn Dahlem (*1974), Berta Fischer (*1973) and Naum Gabo (1890-1977) are now taking up an artistic conversation about space and time between 1920 and 2020 with installations and sculptures.
For Naum Gabo, art in the 1920s meant a means of gaining knowledge about the physics of our planet. The Jewish-Russian artist, who had emigrated to Berlin and who, together with his brother Antoine Pevsner, had shortly before written the “Realistic Manifesto”, which was groundbreaking for sculpture, was constantly searching for new materials and means of expression, “not for the sake of the new, but to find expression for the new view of the world around me and for new insights into the forces of life and nature within me. Even before the First World War, the latest discoveries in natural science, Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity and the idea of the fourth dimension as hyperspaces had already profoundly shaken the previous understanding of the laws of nature, which Gabo experienced directly during his studies of medicine and natural sciences in Munich from 1910 onwards.
Naum Gabo, Säule, 1922/23, Perspex auf Aluminiumuntersatz, 28,5 x 19,2 cm,
Courtesy Berlinische Galerie, Schenkung | donation Nina und | and Graham Williams,
Biddenden/Kent, Großbritannien | Great Britain, 1988
The modern imagination that he had acquired during his studies was to have a lasting effect on his thinking after the First World War. On this basis, Gabo created dynamic, multidimensional, transparent sculptures of geometric precision and mathematical clarity in the early 1920s, which were uniquely perceived as science fiction in the sculpture of the time.
Like Naum Gabo, Berta Fischer works with acrylic glass. While the transparent plastic material was new at the beginning of the 1920s and was only introduced to sculpture by Naum Gabo, it can now be acquired and processed in various colours and sizes as well as with shimmering foils. Through the influence of heat, Fischer can easily bend and plastically process the flat, inherently brittle material. However, the forming impulses must be set abruptly, as the material stores heat poorly and cools down quickly. This material-determined procedure gives controlled chance a wide scope in Berta Fischer’s work. As a result, her works are reminiscent of transparent high-tech materials that float in the room in whirling motion. Beyond gravity, they lend the disordered, chaotic and unpredictable in space and time a duration of momentary character.
Berta Fischer, Untitled, 2005, PVC-Folie, Lichterkette, 240 x 140 x 65 cm,
Courtesy die Künstlerin und Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin; Galerie Karin Günther, Hamburg;
James Fuentes Gallery, New York, Foto: Martin Kolb
By refracting the light, the edges of Fischer’s often very large compositions glow in bright colours. This creates immaterial, coloured drawings in space. Colour is literally dematerialised. A change of light or a small movement of air makes the hanging spatial bodies sparkle, like the flickering light of distant universes. Using a material without matter, Fischer produces sculptures reduced to a minimum, which describe a maximum of space and form. Depending on the situation and lighting, the installations can be read as universes, milky ways or vegetable gardens.
Björn Dahlem uses everyday materials such as wooden slats, found objects, fluorescent tubes, light bulbs and wire for his expansive sculptures. His examination of space and time is based on the theories of philosophy, astro- and particle physics up to the latest findings in quantum mechanics. His work deals with the connection between science and philosophy as well as the boundaries and transitions from natural science to philosophy and theology.
Following the Viennese quantum physicist Anton Zeilinger, quantum mechanics today recognises that matter is to be understood as information and not as absolute objectivity. According to Dahlem, this realization completely challenges the current concept of materialism. If it turns out that matter is information, i.e. represents data registered in consciousness, the supposed objectivity must be thought completely differently. Björn Dahlem acts as a sculptor quite consciously against the background of insights, doubts and the failure of science.
Björn Dahlem became known in the 1990s for his artistic depictions of interstellar space, galaxies, superclusters or black holes, which were realised in large-scale installations using the simplest of means. One work, “Oortsche Wolke” (2012), for example, consists solely of roof battens and fluorescent tubes. It refers to an accumulation of astronomical objects in the outermost region of our solar system, which has not yet been reliably proven. The existence of these objects is controversial and a question of faith even among astrophysicists. Other works by Dahlem take the form of sacred monstrances. Here too, the artist consciously reflects questions of faith and uncertainties.
Already during Naum Gabo’s medical studies from 1910 in Munich, which he abandoned in 1912 to study natural sciences and finally architecture, the topics that Einstein had initiated were generally hotly debated. A trip to his brother in Paris in 1912 and lectures on art history by Heinrich Wölffin in Munich finally led to the decision to become an artist in the same year.
The contemporary ideas of space-time curvature and multidimensional objects are reflected in his spherical sculptures, some of which are reminiscent of laboratory instruments. Circular segments, spirals and interlocking bodies raise the notion of movement, dynamics and a new concept of space in European sculpture to a level that has been interpreted as pure science fiction.
Naum Gabo emigrated first to Paris in 1932, then to England and in 1946 to the USA, where he exhibited at the MIT in Boston and lectured at Harvard in the 1950s. He died world-famous in 1977 in Connecticut. His last solo exhibition in Germany took place in 1986 in Berlin. With the exhibition “Into Space” the Haus am Waldsee picks up the thread to this great innovator of sculpture in the 20th century and reflects influence and survival in the work of two young contemporaries who set new standards today.
Curated by: Katja Blomberg
Catalogue: A catalogue in German and English will be published for the exhibition. Katja Blomberg (Ed.), hardcover, 64 pages, published by Walther König.
Exhibition period: Sunday, 18th October 2020 to Sunday, 10th January 2021 – extended until 06.06.2021To the exhibition venue
Image caption cover: Björn Dahlem, Schwarzes Loch (Cygnus-X1), 2016, Holz, Neonlampe, diverse Objekte, 1500 x 1500 x 600 cm, Installationsansicht Matadero Art Center, Madrid, Courtesy der Künstler und Galerie Guido W. Baudach, Berlin, Heinrich Erhardt, Madrid, Sies + Höke, Düsseldorf, Foto: Björn Dahlem
Exhibition Into Space- Haus am Waldsee | Contemporary Art Exhibitions Berlin Galleries – ART at Berlin