Nicole Hametner, Trimester 1, december 2013
Description of previous projects
Black Light, 2010
The work is placed in a gallery with windows to the street, so the pedestrian have an insight during 24 hours. At the first sight there are only big white sheets recognized on the walls, on the ceiling are blacklight tubes replacing the usual neon tubes. While the bright daylight from the windows beside interacts with the artificial, the silk screens printed on the sheets are barely visible. It is not before the night falls and the light from the buzzing tubes on the ceiling dominates, that the subjects reveal themselves. What the audience can see are plants from the toxic nightshade family confronted with pictures of drug addicts.
Over a period of day and night the changing of the light becomes a repeating cyclical phenomenon. During the day the picture is latent, that means present on the paper but still unrevealed by the blacklight. The spectator’s experience is subject to time and he is forced to wait for what will happen on the walls. And then when there is something depicted on the sheets, each silkscreen still arises on his place only an existential absence and links to the idea that what the audience can perceive is only a sign in a transition from being seen and fading away. In this work the night holds an important place, as a subject as well as an essential condition. There is an inversion of the darkness and the bright light, which leads to juxtaposition between life and death, between beauty and disease. A duality can be seen in this confrontation of the drug addicts and the nightshades. In the sense of the sublime it provokes fascination and repulsion in the same time. The Motive of the Casket Choice of Freud serves as connecting link to this work. The legend of the option between three possibilities is presented in Freud’s essay as a choice between three women and that it is always the third one chosen, which leads to a consequence that it is about a confrontation with the death. After Freud’s interpretation the three women are comparable with the three Fates who spin (Clotho), measure (Lachesis) and cut (Atropos) the thread of life. The name of this third figure guides directly to the deadly nightshade Atropa Belladonna. In psychoanalysis, ruptures structure the long thread of vitality. In the manner of Atropos, the nature of the light source textures in the end the cycle of appearance and disappearance in the work Black Light.
The project succeeded in terms of appealing the visitor and leaving him with an impulse about the subject. Being inside the gallery under the black light created an uncanny feeling and the juxtaposition of the toxic plants and the drug addict reinforced that impression. The special illumination almost caused a kind of a dust, which filled the room and made the effect even more displeasing. In this sense the situation inside the installation produced an affect. Also the view through the windows from outside into the exhibition space worked out well, especially for people passing several times a day in front of the gallery. They perceived different situations of the silk screens. In the morning they still might had wondered what is on the sheets and when they had passed again in the evening they saw the changing of the light and the full appearance of the images. Some visitors had seen a social aspect in the work, which is true, but it was not really the purpose. Therefore I should have increased the degree of abstraction. What interested me more was the idea of beauty and death and questions about perception. Representing drug addicts and toxic plants could have been reduced formally even more. There were several portraits and different plants showed on the walls. Finally, one portrait and one plant would have been enough, less didactic and probably had enforced the meaning. Furthermore I could have deepened more the idea of installation. The black light, which filled out the room as well as the almost three-dimensional appearance of the silk screens included already the space, but I still could have tried working more with the notion of space beside the notion of time and perception.
Energetic Transformation, 2012
A huge plane of wood is installed on a wall of concrete inside the entrance hall of a public building. It depicts an image of a landscape colored by a silver grey patina. This is going to be the result of a projection and its strong light, which engraves and provokes a weathering on the wooden surface that figures during ten years as its screen.
The creation of this work takes place in a building containing several sports halls for the people of the municipality and the students following their apprenticeship in the same building. The idea is to integrate over duration of several years the users of the building by measuring their energy. Besides every door, which leads to the sports hall and to the tribune, pyrometers measure the reflected heat of every person leaving and entering the hall. The registered values are then passed forward to a projector in the entrance hall, where the work finally receives his shape. A photograph of a landscape from the environs emerges through a projection. Its intensity and therefore its clarity of the representation alternate because of its dependence from the measured heat of the people acting inside the building. After a period of 10 years this constant projection on the wooden surface leaves a mark in form of a silver grey patina. A natural process of weathering under the sun is being imitated and carried inside the architecture. The invisible energy is transformed and results finally in a manifestation of a landscape. The choice of the material used is essential. The wood for the projection wall comes from the environment of Sion, a small town in the middle of the Swiss mountains. It is larch wood, which is well known in the area and marks the characteristic landscape. Taken out from the nature inside the building, the wood represents the link between human and architecture. Besides that interpretation, the integrated process of weathering underlines the meaning of time. The wish to appeal the users is particularly linked to the apprentices and their education at the vocational school. They are learning during four years their profession and they proceed at that age, sometimes without knowing it consciously a very significant development. From this note comes the idea of employing a visitor integrated long time procedure in the work, in which the users unnoticed participation with their energy will only be recognizable after a retrospective.
Even when the proportions of the two projects are fairly different, one is considered for a smaller exhibition space while the other should be seen in an entrance hall of a public building, there are still similar aspects in the way they work. One common aspect is the latent picture and the role of the viewer who is forced to wait. In both works there is an inclusion of the audience. Both are not immediately available and hold the idea of a process. In the same way as with earlier projects I use photography to reveal what is left unseen and to refer to something else, mainly an abstract idea in which I aspire to address something universal. Maybe the reduction to the unseen supports the silence in order to recognize something more essential, which might only be seen in an empty room or on an empty sheet of paper.