Tomorrow's words

From December 9th to February 3rd 2012
Opening on December 9th from 4pm to 11pm
Performance by Christian Jendreiko on December 9th at 7.30pm.

Vielen Dank für die Blumen
(Udo Jürgens)

Beneath bulging layers of dark brown, unfired clay, a few delicate flowers and leaves protrude before ending their short lives, squashed beneath the slabs, duly immortalised in the strata of clay. This work, which Katinka Bock called Danke (2011), could be seen, in its moist guise, as a photograph in the Libelle published by Rosascape prior to her exhibition Les mots de demain (Tomorrow's Words). After the photograph was taken, the flowers were incinerated in the kiln; the rollered, dough-like slabs changed their form so that the imprints of the plants left a negative shape in the interstices of the layers of clay.

As is so often the case in her work, Katinka Bock runs the risk of not being able to calculate exactly what shape her works will adopt, to what extent traces of the preliminary version will remain visible and indeed, what the object will ultimately look like. However, this challenge is less a trial than an integral part of the work, because, as in the case of each individual piece, numerous processes and decisions, but also chance itself, are instrumental to the final outcome. It can be read as a denial of form, since the sculptress both incorporates processes that illustrate her own (occasionally poetically humorous) failure and treats this moment in its own right.

Katinka Bock frequently presents memories as impressions in the form of rubbings, foldings or even as a puddle of water on the floor of an exhibition. As relics, her works reveal the temporality of the process itself and are akin to contemporary witnesses to a kind of stasis, or perhaps, the internalisation of actions. The visitor to the exhibition Les mots de demain (Tomorrow's words) encounters a host of traces of this sort, which is not unlike wading through sedimentary deposits: the observer is privy to the material traces of a night in the form of impressions on a clay mattress (Le Lit (une nuit), 2011). The artist spent a night on the soft, raw clay prior to firing and so preserved forever the traces of her body and movements during this particular night.
One can also see traces of blue paint, applied by the artist on the windows of Rosascape's corner room (Blaue Stunde Raum, 2011). She arranged found objects (such as small stones, shards of glass, weeds) upon them, which she had picked up from the street in front of the exhibition space. She prepared prints on paper of these assemblages, ultimately with a view to turning these papers into books. Just as fossils are preserved in stone, so Katinka Bock takes up and archives the traces from the street. Although a trace is being eternalised in this process, it is also being rendered nonsensical because the objects themselves remain undefinable and ultimately seem like a faded memory. Upon entering the space, it is scarcely possible to discern anything of the process involved in the treatment of the windows. Instead, fuelled by the lights of the surrounding houses and the slightly open door to the adjoining room, the blue light dominates, suffusing the space with an almost sacred atmosphere.

Further traces from her native Paris also come into play: for a whole year, she collected scraps of twine, string and ribbon (United for Paris, 2011). Katinka Bock told me in an interview that the cultural practices of a city, i.e. of an entire country, can be gleaned by looking at randomly discarded pieces of string. Ultimately, all of these materials are thrown away after something has been unpacked, they land somewhere in some corner or other and remain a silent reference to their former (embellishing) function, such as broken shoelaces that have lost their supportive or decorative use.
Bock uses these discarded leftovers to trace a line through the rooms of the exhibition by knotting them together and suspending them across the space. The focus of the work is less on a transference of traces relating to our civilisation than on a transference into something psychological and physical. She thus approaches the 'charged' material by knotting the pieces together and allowing the thread to wander over the whole course of the show, inasmuch as a pile of string actually builds up bit by bit, though at a rate scarcely discernible in the space of one visit to the exhibition. The tension which the string creates through the rooms remains the same, but the proprietor of the exhibition space has the daily task of pulling the string further through the room and towards the balcony outside, with the effect that a small pile of thread gradually builds up there.
This particular piece features one of Katinka Bock's preferred working methods: she not only subjects her choice of materials to scrutiny, but also tests the people employed in the institutions where she exhibits her work, inasmuch as they are entrusted with more responsibility here than with other exhibitions as they must service the processes in operation.

When previewing a space, Katinka Bock surveys the properties of the site to determine what is missing or what she could introduce into it. In this case she performed a series of balancing acts in order to connect the predominately urban outside space with its internal counterpart. United, Paris duly demonstrates the influence of natural energies – such as snow, water or air. One would not necessarily notice this, were it not for the objects outside which produce movement through their connection with other objects in the internal space. Visitors here come to realise that they are located within one section of a longer temporal process – and even if they can also visualise the threads in a different formation or pile, they are denied the total experience of the exhibition; or perhaps they have to use their imagination, because they will never be able to see the entire progress of the burgeoning pile of threads.

Yet it is the missing thing itself that sticks to our memory, it is this that we think about and that continues to captivate us. Katinka Bock emphasises this absence, or perhaps what it calls to mind. Sound thus had to play a crucial part in her Rosascape exhibition – such as those familiar, domestic sounds you can hear in a private apartment. Indeed, in this exhibition, we are clearly in a private space by virtue of the rich decor, the fine parquet and the view into apartments on the other side of the street, despite the fact that art is regularly exhibited here. In this space immersed in blue light, one can hear sounds from the neighbouring apartments, sounds that have been added both artificially and 'live', as it were, and which Katinka Bock duplicates. We naturally associate them with a domestic living space and feel confused when we perceive noises from the adjoining room, such as the sound of chairs being moved, someone playing with a ball, jumping, clattering or banging on the wall. The actions that we can hear are communicated through sound-producing movements – Christian Jendreiko addresses this fundamental question in a performance that echoes Katinka Bock's exhibition.

The conscious perception of a movement as an expression of existence, but also as the expression of an atmosphere, indeed of ideas, informs the fundamental thinking behind Christian Jendreiko's actions and performances. He records images in the form of language in texts, such as the one also contained in the Libelle on this exhibition.
After recording his actions as texts, Jendreiko subsequently hands over these ideas to actors who then take part in his performances. He uses musical instruments as seismographs of the actors' movements, who then create a kind of social sculpture together. A pictorial process is formed using these actions, just as in the texts themselves; however, the process is not complete but constantly evolving, perceived both visually and aurally to the same degree.
Christian Jendreiko has written a new action for Rosascape, the form of which will only be visible when it is 'lived', i.e., during the opening of Katinka Bock's exhibition. In other words, the image sketched during the performance can only be perceived when the action actually takes place.

Kathleen Rahn
(Translated from the German by Tim Connell).