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August 08, 2002

Andrea Rosen Gallery is one of the serious ones. The exhibition space is cleverly divided. There are sometimes three shows on at the same time. I was there to see the new and different Wolfgang Tillmans piece. It is Called “s (Body)” and was two years in the making. A video piece, a first for Tillmans. Even though he admits flirting with the idea of making a video piece for much longer. “This is my first video piece, even though I have been seriously thinking about video since 1993.” So the piece was actually 9 years in the making. Fascinating.
The piece is a video projection. The soundtrack is “Hacker Remix” of “Don’t be ” by Air, which actually feels quite highly conceptual now when I think about it, because the piece is very much about a remix of and darkness and Air. And the piece feels a bit hacked too.
Tillmans says: “It is totally abstract and yet it is totally about all the bodies dancing underneath the s. I Filmed whilst the club was full action on Saturday nights. You wouldn’t necessarily know, except that in one of the s you see flakes of floating dust. Since dust is 90% human skin there is some presence of the body there. Certainly it doesn’t have a clinical atmosphere, even if you can’t see any people.”
What is the dust in an air conditioned clinically clean gallery made of? How do I feel being alone with the piece for 15 minutes, seeing the piece for about 4 times? Maybe more? The only time I experienced it as abstract was when I walked up to the screen so closely that I could see the pixels of the projection as glimmering square centimeters surrounding my strangely looking shadow.
This was also the only time when I did not have the feeling that I am looking at the introduction to an industrial video about club ing. The piece had this feeling that reminded me of instructions I heard when working in an editing studio 12 years ago. The stuff was supposed to look sharp. You want to see the technology. Make sure all is clear at all times. We used to make industrial movies for Siemens.
I am looking forward to more things from Tillmans, who is certainly still one of the best the German photography universe has currently to offer. I am not sure how much I am looking forward to seeing any more of his projects he plans to release on “film” (which in this case was video). I am not very likely to going to spend another 15 minutes with “s (Body)” (2000-2002), though my opinion might change, of course. Would you mind giving me some of your impressions about the piece?


how many times can one have "the definition of abstract" argument?

Posted by: em!ly on August 8, 2002 03:27 PM

why did he have to keep everything in focus? The image had this video crispness. Well...

Posted by: Witold on August 8, 2002 06:15 PM

badbad :)

video crispness?!

Not in a video installation?!
His photos are fairly "crisp," yeah?
hmmm, maybe?
so then why not his videos?

My question is,
and this is the important part...

How was it projected?!
no rear projection???

bad :(

Posted by: em!ly on August 8, 2002 06:51 PM

Yes, no rear projection. There was a hole in the wall and there came the beam of light. It was a digital beamer. Little visible squares. Very much the 600x250 images are supposed to be seen. 1 pixel=1 square centimeter.
Yes, you are right, his photos can be crisp. And seem spontaneous. The shots in the video looked as if it were taken in a not very spontaneous way. Hmm.

Posted by: Witold on August 8, 2002 07:20 PM
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