Christoph Schenker : "A Drawing".
|In: Katalog" Annebarbe Kau", Akademie Schloss Solitude Stuttgart 1993, p. 24 - 35.|
|Translation by: Steve Cox|
The meaning of this is entirely and best to say the mark, best to say it best to shown sudden places, best to make bitter, best to make the length tall and nothing broader, anything between the half. Gertrude Stein
essential cause of an art work, as Paul Valèry said, is the wish
that it might be talked about.
are areas of art in which one does not pass judgment as to whether a work
complies with the rules. Here, the paradigm according to which something
is right or wrong is obscure by nature.
are dealing with domains of the truly aesthetic. This refers to what is
an event for the sensess beyond the sayable and the literary contained
in an art work. This event, as one element of the work, makes the unthinkable
sensually perceptible it gives cause for thought, in contrast to
the other element, which is a mediation of thoughts.
are artists who, according to their interests, develop the one element,
and those who tend to work on the other. It seems to me that in the case
of Annebarbe Kau the central thing is the form which demands a content,
rather than the idea which demands a form. Although her work demonstrates
a character which moves back and fore between form and content, and content
and form, almost without distinction, in so doing it forces us to adopt
the perspective of its form form understood here as the ensemble
of relations of space, time, colour, light, temperature and sound, as
a world of irreducible relationships which create the essential aesthetic
With respect to the purely practical world, this inexpressible dimension is an exceptional state; and yet it forms, with ist ability to extend, develop and refine, the very substance of the art work.
a "deep" work of art can be distinguished from a "clever"
work insofar as it does not illustrate bright ideas but provides the experiential
background against which such ideas can develop and reach their significance.
It is a work which does not express (something) but shows (itself) : our
encounter with it is an experience of perception liberated from language.
has been said that Annebarbe Kau's work is poetic. Part of what this description
may be trying to capture is that in her videotapes there are certain sequences
of shots and movements unfolding with relative tranquility and do not
proceed in the form of a discourse but through association. Consequently,
a direct rational insight into a possible, in some form given, context
is denied and our speculative powers of imagination are thereby provoked
into making free associations.
may assume that a work of art embodies the knowledge, that it mirrors
the proficiency and that it corresponds with the will of the artist. The
apparent "dis-order" of a work whether, as here, it is
still a case of the temporal succession of independent monitor pictures
or whether we are considering the incomprehensible arrangement of drawings
hung on a wall is a created composition. The cause of our aesthetic
interest is this arrangement, which for us is given here and now. It is
characteristic of artistic experience that possible imaginary images,
sensations, emotions or meanings are always attached to specifically arranged
material and to the use one makes of it. An aesthetic effect is inseparable
from what, in its material specificity, shows itself to our senses. And
even where an art work makes an unchanging sensual impression, the effect
continues to have immediacy and the aesthetic experience remains unique.
Kau is an engineer of sensations. She analyses the interwoven texture
of sensations something we treat as natural and unravels
them, separating out individual sensations or combining them in a new
way.As a result, what becomes clear is not how they belong together but
how they are experienced as belonging together. In the context of everyday
life, perception in the sense of an activity - reading, for example, or
looking, watching and listening is essentially determined and purposeful.
The sensations are only concerned with perception inasmuch as they fit
into that chain of cause and effect.
Annebarbe Kau's video tape, in her space-video-sound work and in her drawing
the decisive manifestations cannot be perceived as something to be utilized.The
succession, the superimposition, the dissolving, the isolation and the
manipulation of these manifestations are uncertain and contrary to any
rules. We cannot do anything useful, anything functional, anything meaningful
with them. Yet they enable us to linger in the sensation it arouses, and
there we can catch the true being of experiencing - in a sense to live
a happy and simultaneously terrifying life of incomprehensible order.
That is, indeed, a monstrous thing. The shock is explained by the fact
that we are not capable here of forming ideas about what exactly it is
that moves us, and above all why it makes such a strong impression on
on your own sensations when, for example, picture and sound coincide on
the videotape but do not appear linked, when the movements in the picture
or in the sound are slowed down or delayed, when the various sound sequence
are superimposed, when at one point time is measured by the repetition
of occurrences but then spreads out at another in the form of an uneventful
period of expectancy, though the event itself has already happened almost
before you knew it.Check out your sensations in a video installation when
the light from the monitors, the sound from the loudspeakers and the movement
of your body are defining the space. Pay attention to the difference between
the sensation of the coloured light shining from the monitor as a drawing
and the sensation of the light reflected back from the white sheet of
paper as background light and from the colours on the drawing. Notice
the sensation of the eye movements as they follow the drawn line and the
sensation the movement the camera makes while describing a line in the
Kau's drawing is not part of any graphic code. In general it is not an
expression, not an illustration and not a script, not is it a diagram,
musical score or piece of choreography. Its readability remains uncertains.
Is it a product or the occasion for a production? Since the graphic code
is uncertain, our sensations seem to hang in the balance and are, as it
were, arrested. Thus, what emerges in self-activity is what normally goes
unnoticed as the condition for orientation in the world.
what form does the aesthetic reaction take here? Is it mute astonishment
(a thought tied to perception)? Is it a cry of satisfaction and agreement?
A gesture which expresses comprehension? A comment and word of comparison?
A text offering explanation? A dance which interprets?
these potential responses to the art work involve the passing of aesthetic
judgement. Yet we find ourselves in a sphere where, as I mentioned at
the outset, measurement against some definable yardstick is not possible.
A different kind of game is being played here. In a lecture on aesthetics
Ludwig Wittgenstein once said that aesthetic judgment did not lie in what
was said in words; rather, it was shown in the complicated activities
- e.g. in competent assessments of something, in the way in which one
might examine and select - which are accompanied by these words; words
that are used in this context as gestures. In order to clarify the nature
of this aesthetic judgment based on connoisseurship one would have to
describe the life of a whole culture.
Just as the aesthetic is not the domain of what can be said (i.e. we say what something is and what it means) but the sphere of what is shown (where something shows that it is), so aesthetics is not a matter of speaking but (as with ethics) a matter of doing. The response to the work and the judgment are identical with the use we make of it.