Phillip Van den Bossche
You never visit an exhibition with an empty sheet on which new sensory experiences collect. You are filled with ideas, images and sensations that precede looking: ‘And no more words, the report of the day, and yet another world.’
‘... und eine Welt noch’: About the experience of an exhibition, you always write afterwards, looking for threads, how to follow them with words and weave them into a mental world. The artist has been ahead of you, and before her, others have. ‘I’m thinking of Hanne Darboven,’ Heide Hinrichs seems to proclaim at her exhibition ringing critical forests, without words, rather by way of a trace or sign. She causes things to surface. Turns the surface itself into an inscription. Draws by taking up temporary residence in the collective archive of other, mainly women artist. Moves along in a multiple movement. Lets the present move in the past and vice versa.
Trying to describe an exhibition as if it were a day. Opening a landscape, a forest as if it were an archive, without lending it historical status. Are these the ‘critical forests’? It makes me think of ‘not not history’ and what Rebecca Schneider wrote in this context: ‘Through the cracks in the “not not”, something cross-temporal, something affective, and something affirmative circulates. Something is touched.’ Approaching works of art as temporary autonomous objects. That’s actually what they are, but seeking out their being-provisional and exploring this crosswise, physically. Time turns into a physical trace in the now: the knots in the thread tell about the hands that weave, frottages of a wooden floor, the wind as écriture automatique, a plaster tongue, putting the clay in your mouth, moulding it by chewing it, fetching the carpet in your parents’ house, moving it in another room in an exhibition.
What I try to describe here, is a conjecture how Heide Hinrichs seeks to merge tactile boundaries. When does a temporary balance evaporate? Living Room is a work of art that made me look at the exhibition as a whole of links. This is both the most accessible and the most hidden installation, consisting of a carpet with traces of wear, on which the artist has placed a number of stones and feathers. I still don’t manage to get beyond a description. Or it must be the sensory perception: how the natural light, coming from the windows on one side, transforms both the fabrics and the feathers, merges light and backlight.
KIOSK is not an autonomous zone within the KASK. Simon Delobel’s first exhibition as a curator at once directs questions at the structure and its surroundings. Artistic, political and social observations touch each other. In other words, ringing critical forests gradually seeps into the art academy, and that has probably a lot to do with the poetics of the artist and curator (see also the small cards with information for the visitors: these feature fragments from a correspondence, not descriptions).
A number of walls in the exhibition have been painted in a somewhat ‘toxic’ yellow, a term used by Heide Hinrichs. She tells about her architectural perceptions, about what she wanted to change because of how she thinks and what preoccupies her as a person. She wanted for example to introduce asymmetry in the architecture, but it would be a simple reduction to stop there. Where do you enter and how do you leave?
Living Room or the carpet constitutes the beginning of the thread. Different transformations in Hinrichs’s work move from bottom to top: from the floor to what could be happening above. That doesn’t really sound clear. I’m not sure myself, but I have actually found an echo in the stones on the carpet. They come from near her parents’ home. Is that important? Yes, as important as the decision to bring together the carpet, stones and feathers. The act of questioning the action from surface to sign, from bottom to top, marks this exhibition. It invites to make committed, small movements, between distance and nearness, between time and place.
And then there were no more words, yet there still was an exhibition, time and again, different for every visitor. Follow the thread, on the ground, then along the wall, and then leave by the window. The thread moves like a wave and then reaches a tree. The exhibition space loses its art codes and turns back into an environment for art, for ringing critical forests.