by Aleksei Borisionok
For the first time, the exhibition In Situ presents works of two artists in the same space. Considering the name and the intention of the exhibition, there is no surprise, that both of the artists refer to the book of Gaston Bachelard under the title “The poetics of space” from 1958. Bachelard examines the phenomenology of living spaces which we percept, live through and imagine: compact and infinite, material and fictitious paying attention to everything what makes our spaces of living habitable or hostile. The dialectics are unfolding through the relation of inside and outside. Bachelard claims, that this deepest metaphysics is rooted in the spatial metaphor, giving the philosophical geometric intuition. The artistic works creates the space where the critique of this opposition becomes tangible.
Ekaterina Shapiro-Obermair presents a series of bild-objects “The ice melts”, wavy distorted asymmetrical compositions and a graphic work without title. They have particular semantics and visual language, which reflects on the modernist grid and comprises references to the contemporary politics, as well as accelerating forms of up-to-date communication. She investigates the matrix and qualities of painting, which encounter the concepts of geopolitical space. The grids which reminds of chessboard, reticule of optical devices, traditional folk and digital ornaments, referencing the heritage of Soviet avant garde and Western geometric abstraction are mixed with the signs of modern communication: emojis, stickers and alike.
Martina Steckholzer presents a new series of large paintings titled “A late afternoon” and a poetic text. The artistic practice of Martina is based on a method of appropriation: she extracts the plain and clear composition from the images she made in her everyday life. She deprives those images of original senses, colors, depth, details and contingency, leaving the carcass of the image, a solid composition, where barely all the traces are disappearing. The referent of the original image is completely lost. The series presents strict architectonic compositions, which might remind of architectural plans, renders and shadow play. At the same time she manages to combine light black-white-and-grey clear expressions with monumentality of almost architectonic quality.
The interplay of surfaces of the artworks and the surfaces of the exhibition space, grids, dynamic relations and flow of colors, layers, a-symmetries and poetic and political allusions create specific phenomenological experience. What types of residues, displacements, and semantic linkages does the exhibition bring forth? Through the ontological meaning of images and poetic metaphors in the works of Shapiro-Obermair and Steckholzer one can examine this dialectics of inside and outside, this tension which modulates and shapes our perception of space, territory, corporal and visual experience: in between inner and outer, here and there, or how Bachelard beautifully puts it in between prison and paradise.