Vitek Marcinkiewicz - Congo II., 2006
graphite on paper
THE CONCENTRATED SENSE – DRAWING
A three-part exhibition series
Vitek Marcinkiewicz - Congo
In his essay “Why thinking makes you sad”, George Steiner employs the image of the “radiance of thought” for the most elevated condition of focussing on a goal to the exclusion of all peripheral work. In it he names a number of jobs whose activities include such moments of extreme concentration: for example, those of the surgeon and the mathematician, of the watchmaker, of the master of meditation deep in contemplation, and of the sharpshooter.
The draftsperson should also be named here. Because what arise during the marking and giving of contours, the opening and closing of lines are moments of focussing in which the hand, the image carrier (the paper) and the tool (the pencil) become one unit whose action, as if in absent-minded play, only knows the present.
In our three-part exhibition “The concentrated sense – Drawing” it is the graphic substrate of this present-ness that is addressed.
Vitek Marcinkiewicz’s jungle drawings “Congo” are paraphrasings of revealing and concealing, of the wilderness as hiding place. With the black, white, and grey values of the tangle of vines and dense foliage that break up the light into matte blurs, they are removed from the boom in the romanticism of the primeval forest, which has been employed to satisfy the desire for the exotic from the fin de siècle until today.
They instead force viewers to take a concentrated look, which can be compared to that of the photographer in Antonioni’s film “Blow up” as he discovers, in a fleeting look at freshly developed images of a stroll through the bushes in a park, the blurred face of a man whose hand holds a pistol aimed at a closely embracing couple.
Andreas Seltzer’s images are notations of inner journeys. In their creation, Jules Verne’s utopian report on an adventure from the interior of the earth “Journey to the Centre of the Earth” serves as his starting point. His cycle of the same name is a pictorial report on drawing. In it, the searching movement of the hand applies less to the progress of the lines on the paper but instead plumbs various types of images within the medium of the artistic drawing. The ever-repeating blue-lined horizontal format resembles the pages of the expedition logs of earlier times. Like Marcinkiewicz, also Seltzer works with graphic constraints through the reduction of the palette of his drawing tools to the three fundamental colours.
The involvements harboured within the everyday surface are shown by the third part of our exhibition, “Social Graphemes”. Drawing is here first and foremost a form of outlook, an analytical means, and gets by to a large extent without the protective seal of art. For example with the “mind maps” by Andrea Koch or the plans for local traffic by Matthias Hintzen; the cross-section depictions of buildings and the images of streets from a bird’s eye view by Manfred Kruse, who became known under the pseudonym Robinson; the photos of the chalk contours that traffic police make after accidents and the markings for incisions by a Berlin surgeon; the maps of routes to school by Amon Fässler and the lists that Wolfgang Anklam drew up in order to make an inventory of his silhouette images of the technical universe; the construction drawings and the photos that Hermann Hintzpeter made in order to record the work on a hybrid model of a building crane and a swing boat called “Ohnegleichen” (“Unique”) the coloured ink-drawings by Fritz Kuruso who believed that he had finally disclosed the mystery of Hephaestus, the bible verses with which the owner of the Korean snack bar Ixthys has papered her walls and that bring her guests to connect the exquisite spiciness of her soup with the word of God…