»May Contain Traces of Walnuts«
Opening: Friday, November 13, 2015, 19h
Artist talk: Friday, December 4, 2015, 19h
Exhibition: November 14 – December 12, 2015
Wed-Sat 14-18h, and by appointment
In Oliver Dignal’s works remake and mock-up have always enjoyed a defining role. Often his interest is geared towards the strategies behind recreations of nature like, e.g., dioramas, or the fine lines defining original and model thereof. He thus devotes himself to those places where we are to feel transported to other ones. In his latest work “Kann Spuren von Walnüssen enthalten“ the Frankfurt-born artist approaches this heterotopic principle off his own bat.
Oliver Dignal attempts reconstructing the scent of space as described associatively by astronaut Alexander Gerst in a documentary. This scent exists only at certain moments, and only in the atmosphere of a space station; it is not perceptible to man as a whole, in the vacuum of space. Therefore this here is not about a scientific approach, about garnering the possibly best objective information, but about turning Gerst to a proxy of our very perception. Hence his casual point turns into an impulse to find opportunity for rendering the scent of space tangible on earth, and to a pivot as well for the entire show’s theme.
Another moment of simulation is taken up with photographs of airplanes in parabolic flight. In the course of the depicted turning flights gravity is nearly neutralized for brief moments within planes ascending almost vertically, thereby training astronauts to deal with zero gravity. By hanging the exhibits each from a single nail, from one particular point of the picture, the planes depicted optically tilt back to a horizontal state. Thus the hanging turns into an indexical embodiment of gravity even when the pictorial content shows itself being overturned.
Acoustically, the venue is filled with cracking and creaking. Paper wads in a video projection unfolding in spontaneous fits, only to lie about again inertly, create the sound backdrop. In the area of tension between expansion and stagnation, photography and video, the viewer is constantly led to believe that at certain moments all energy had fled the compressed paper and the object were frozen still.
Here, the title “Kann Spuren von Walnüssen enthalten” is not a legal disclaimer; on the contrary, it is a speculative incentive, the opening-up of wiggle space for claims that is progressing farther into photographic as well as installation-related components. In this sense, the exhibition is finally not a representation of space; rather the viewers, while dealing with the set pieces of space and space travel aesthetics, are thrown back on the potential of their own perception and its earthly parameters.