For the third time the annual public conference of the Visual Art Section stood under the motto: ’workshop reports’. Taking the themes „Installation“ and „Painting“, Marianne Schubert had invited artists to come who work with new media and materials. They presented their work in 3 morning lectures and 2 film evenings. Afterwards, in small groups or via plenums, their work was talked about and discussed. A stimulating atmosphere presided over the conversation, in which it was attempted to understand each of the various artist’s intentions. If at the end of the conference the impression emerged that one could now finally ’begin’, then it means nothing less than that the phenomena were now so well worked through, that fundamental questions had become visible. Instead of just launching into untimely debates about fundamental principles, some real work was done. Closely bound to the artistic process and the challenges that the invited artists had posed, there emerged a mood of coming deeply into contact with the present reality, with ’the now’, which is not normally so easy to create.
The conference was introduced by a fundamental contribution to viewpoints upon the so-called digitalisation of the world of work and of life in general. Here it appears that fascination and a sense of threat are indivisibly bound up with one another, so long as the “latest technical developments“ remain as mere announcement and image. It would have been desireable to have heard more about the problems of getting to grips with and handling these technologies. (See the contribution by Ruedi Bind). The work which Peter Elsner presented the next day dealt exactly with this topic. Via multiple reproductions of a human figure on the computer screen, he had developed cosmic symphonic compositions which deal with the mysteries of the heights, the depths and of humanity - group images, which evidence a deep concern with the ’blue planet’. Warmth, coldness, illustration, mathematisation and the interaction of the artist with the emerging work were the keywords dominating the folllowing conversation.
The works of Marc Rossel, which were presented the next morning, were impressive in a quite different way. The Australian, who had been educated by his father for the sciences, studied art in New York and now works as a sculptor in the south of Austria. For our conference he had exhibited constructions or ‚scaffolds’ wrapped in cling-film. However, only the first impression reminded one of Christo or Barbara Hepworth. Bit by bit his works received an essential character, till the well-known material became a light-coloured membrane mediating the forces between ’inner’ and ’outer’. Without embarrassment he gave insight into his perplexity during the work, but also into the effect it had upon him. It is ’nourishing’ for a colleague to look so unreservedly while working.
Refreshing in a completely different way was the contribution of Charlotte Fischer, whose work we all know. It is she who made it possible to photograph Eurythmy and gave to the Waldorf motto "The Child in the Centre" its recognisable image. During the lighter months of the year, she is almost constantly on the road and is convinced that she is not an artist, simply because she takes her client’s intentions so seriously and then makes them completely her own. Recognizing that moment in which the child's gaze ’speaks’ or the movement of the Eurythmy can clearly be sensed despite the static qualitiy of the photographic image, is only possible with a heart filled with a particular intention. Here there was the least need for discussion!
Is one allowed to film the desperate cry of one’s own new-born son? This is what Hans-Jörg Palm did, before then filming himself to the soundtrack of his baby, while imitating its facial expression. From the toddler’s joyful discovery of the running camera to the testing of the first spoken sounds back to the aforementioned scream, he showed film sequences that moved the onlooker via their strong power of empathy. Given the well-synchronized match between sound and image, it put ones mind at rest to learn that each sequence was preceded by fifty attempts. After this presentation, Ruedi Bind's "Window A" took us further back in time, having lost none of its confrontational power even after forty years. With the exception of the beginning and the end, it always shows a frontal view of walls and windows and through windows, until finally the view is made to gaze upon lines of houses illuminated at night. The reality of the onlooker is never forgotten – a fine achievement indeed!
We were brought back to the present by the films of Monika Huber, a pupil of Fruhtrunk from Munich, who fell into a crisis during the uprising she witnessed while at an exhibition in Athens. Johannes Nilo discovered her as she was photographing the Goetheanum’s south staircase. There she "saw" something in the architectural space, which she had previously only seen in the imaginative ’space’ of her abstract pictures. However, for this visit to the Goetheanum she showed films dealing with the ‚Arab Spring’ and the ensuing acts of violence and wars. Without any particular aim in mind, she had begun to film and edit the images on television.
How can one really take up and digest these external events? If, on the basis of the painted image, the question arises as to what the ’I’ of the observer is concerned with, this question arises all the more strongly when one considers the mechanically produced objects. This research question is likely to be the most far-reaching result of our eventful days together.
Übersetzer: Edwin Kobbé, Juni 2017