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Wiebke Maria Wachmann (English Version).           










White light felt as an emanation - not only as illuminated by external means. Like Monet’s ‘Grainstacks’ series where (a red) light appears as an internal glow. As if leaking from a store of some kind of energy, releasing its own light. The uncanny glow of Monet’s ‘Grainstacks’ are illustrating their function as a bulwark against social entropy (as a storage of the sun’s light for the survival of the human, leaking out as a red glow). Wachmann’s white spaces also serve as a survival, as a reminder of the ideal in our sense of space; space with awe, or ‘place’ with its sense of value over and above the everyday – or perhaps as part of the everyday, now forgotten, in an entropy not of society but of the mind (as a storage of the ideal or transfigured value that may be embedded in them, leaking out as a white aura). If the latter case reminds us the viewer of this value, it should further prompt the thought that we ourselves (as humans) are the source of such bestowals of value in the world – and that maybe we need to confer it more often. More often to transfigure the actuality around us…


Within the ambit of what has just been said we may further distinguish two kinds of sacred, or, to use another angle of approach, two aspects of the call to the sublime (two manners of appeal to other times, other spaces). The first group of Wachmann’s installations invokes the sacred proper, creating a quasi-religious space, or place (if we take ‘place’ as not only a special space, but one with a correspondingly special time, or as a reference to the outside of time). In the whiteness of the room, the wood, the birch trunks (and here we are reminded of the sacred spaces of Tarkovsky’s films) we bear witness to the invocation of a Sacred Grove. Nature as place. As room. Whose room? Another’s. Both of an-Other and ours… Personification; projection of ourselves as supernatural inhabitant. Our Other within (not the unconscious, but the sense of self as sublime), always mysterious, other-worldly, apart of others, made out of otherness (a prior language and culture) – abstracted, personified spirit. Our home. As it could be… in an ideal sense.


The second group of installations evince a more technological form of the sacred. Objects are put into question by technology; as, for example, in case of the table and mirror installation, “fall”. Infinity, of course, is an aspect of the mathematical sublime. A quantitative inspired vertigo challenges assumptions about reality. A sense of putting into question is also found in the replication of the self in the infinite sequence that results from participation in the artwork (a kind of ritual which ‘shakes’ the self – in the manner of all kinds of sublime-type rituality). Both freezing and multiplying the self in a visual gesture both suggestive of the mass reproductions of consumer society and yet also using the uncanny aspect of repetition to highlight the visual and fragmentary nature of the self (the repetition denies the confirmatory form of recognition conveyed by a single still image…). Nevertheless, like all ritual, an experience we return from re-confirmed, if (or because) slightly shaken.


White nights. Luminous Globe. Artificial Moon. A ‘Transfigured Night’ courtesy of the technological sublime. All is transformed by the new ‘moon’; a new space (a new time); all is transformed by, what is after all, a human construction. A utopian or cleansed, sacred or transfigured space (time) is suggested by Wachmann’s art. Reunification, if only on the level of the ideal or illusory, of the severed halves of our sense of wonder. And the promise held out by their rediscovery as a permanent patina in the realm of the everyday.








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Copyright Peter Nesteruk, 2008