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Solo show: Philip Loersch - H (over)

28 April 2012 until 16 June 2012
  Philip Loersch - H
  Galerie Jette Rudolph

Galerie Jette Rudolph
Strausberger Platz 4
10243 Berlin
Germany (city map)

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tel +49 (0)30 - 613 03 887

In his second solo show at the Jette Rudolph Gallery, Philip Loersch (*1980 in Aachen; lives and works in Berlin), the draftsman known for his room-filling cut-outs, takes the approach of an investigative (field) researcher and - in addition to two installations - presents a new group of works: naturalistic drawings on paper.

Loersch continues to be fascinated with imagery related to diagrams and with their position between iconic presentation and symbol of numerical order. So, in the exhibition's central works, various references can be found to "Euclid's Elements" - especially to what the Greek mathematician writes in the book entitled "To set out the sides of five figures and compare them with one another" (Book 13, Proposition 18). Loersch takes the linguistic, scientific and logical construction specifications provided by these references, translating them into graphic form and thus into a tree of proof that can be experienced aesthetically - from the simple drawing to the light permeable cut-out in the room to the hologram-like projection screen consisting of semi-transparent nylon threads. These nylon threads reduce the drawing process to a simple act: that of partially marking the "wall" - kilometers of thread spanning across the room from floor to ceiling - until it is only through the viewer's movement that an abstract ornament gradually emerges.

The artist plays with the empty spaces in the visible and, in so doing, refers to the main characteristic of the diagram, whose "dia" prefix discloses its intention - iconic self-denial: The diagram does not describe, but refers to something, "[because] as far as its material medium goes, [it] would prefer to make itself invisible and would prefer to make us forget its creator."[1]

Loersch's installations contrast with his naturalistic drawings on traditional and deckle-edge paper, a group of works that enjoys a uniform presentation, something unusual for the artist. Here, the emphasis is on the etymological origin of the graphic medium - and as a discipline that generatively connects drawing with writing. In the manner of a detailed and objective field researcher, the artist accompanies an anonymous scholar at work and takes very motif-oriented photos. Loersch shows him taking a walk in the woods, where he can be seen doing things like scratching diagrams into the leaf-covered ground or, in another photo, using a white sheet of paper to presumably look for scientific formulas in nature, to capture them on paper as temporary proofs.

Unlike the field researcher, Loersch's eye is not on culture or a particular social group. His focus is much more on developing a grammar for his drawing - one that he can use in his comparative studies of nature and scientific knowledge. The specific type of investigative approach that Loersch takes - systematically collecting scientifically evaluable data on the conditions in reality - also appears to be based on a performative process, one that transforms the motif of the scientific diagram into a metaphoric gesture. While in his two-dimensional drawings, Loersch works descriptively, in his installations - like the modern architects Gropius and van der Rohe who had a similar fascination with the natural sciences - he requires "… a viewer that circles and wanders through [the work] as a dynamic user... They too remained on a metaphoric level, but they incorporated the central idea of understanding time as a function and component of spatial movement - in a haptic and physical way."[2]

Moreover, Loersch conducts his observations in fragmentary studies, including one that creates the illusion of preserving the image of a book page filled with handwritten comments, where legible mathematical formulas and texts make the scientific context clear. However, while a juxtaposition is set up between this trompe-l'œil and the fold in the middle of the page, the photo reveals that the motif was photographed at too close of a distance. This is similar to the work "Faltung" ("Fold"), where the photo's size gets a panorama-like extension to the left and right of the motif - through empty surfaces that are almost white. In his naturalistic works and in his installations, Loersch likes working with abundance and saturation, with detail and all-over effect, elements that provide the basis for a multifarious game of illusion and disillusion. Making further reference to the stylistic epoch of the baroque, the artist's intention is to keep the viewer at a distance through the folds and mirrorless glass surfaces, to take away his self-referential reflection and to instead make him the viewer of a spectacle.[3]

For his current solo show, the artist has intentionally decided to avoid using an exhibition title which would specify the theme of the exhibition. In this way, it differs from previous exhibitions that had titles like "eindimensional" ("one-dimensional"), (Kunstverein Friedrichshafen, 2011), "wenn zwei Seiten zwei Seiten entsprechen" ("When two sides equal two sides") (Kunstverein Lippe, Detmold, 2011) or "Eine schöne Menge Symmetrie" ("A good deal of symmetry") (Overbeck Gesellschaft, 2009). Instead, this time one letter is taken out of the artist's name and placed in the line above it. We can suspect that this wasn't lastly done to inspire viewers to use the empty space thus created as a place to experiment with the artist's identity and to decide for themselves whether to make a logical or metaphoric addition.

[1] Karin Leonhard, Bild und Zahl. Das Diagramm in Kunst und Wissenschaft am Beispiel Wassily Kandinskys und Felix Auerbachs. In: Anja Zimmermann (Ed.), Sichtbarkeit und Medium. Austausch, Verknüpfung und Differenz naturwissenschaftlicher und ästhetischer Bildstrategien, Hamburg, 2005, p. 232.
[2] Horst Bredekamp, Architektur, die fließt. Ein Paukenschlag: Wie Einsteins Relativitätstheorie die Kunst der Avantgarde inspirierte. In the newspaper: Die Zeit, February 25, 2005.
[3] Franziska Sick, Theater- Illusion- Publikum. Aspekte des Barock in Frankreich. In: Theater und Publikum im europäischen Barock, edited by Anselm Maler, Angel San Miguel and Richard Schwaderer, Frankfurt/M, 2002.

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