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Sweeping cosmos

by Stefan Rasche

"A greenhouse for images" - this is how Gudrun Barenbrock describes the light installation she has
created especially for the Kunsthaus Kloster Gravenhorst. She has positioned six large-format video
projections in the main exhibition room, two of which are beamed onto the side walls, the other two
onto the floor. Forgoing the use of screens, the cinematic images are projected directly onto the surfaces
of the historical architecture. Each of the sequences is comprised of several short films which
complement each other and form a loop. This does not however lead to a series of synchronous events
in space, for each of the projections is composed individually and linked thematically, so that new,
ever-shifting visual constellations are repeatedly produced.

The films themselves are based on everyday observations: a view into treetops or out of a train window,
pedestrians moving along at rush hour, the grass of a meadow swaying in the wind, a tropical forest,
seen from the river, water flowing through a grate or moved by the rocking of a boat, landscape, streets
and buildings which rotate around their own axis, filmed by a camera mounted on the hub of a bicycle.

As varied as these motifs are, they are all snapshots of natural movements, and not computer-generated
material for instance. The artist describes this process succinctly as: "what comes, comes, what goes,
goes". In other words, without imposing any value judgement she captures with the camera what has
just happened, out in the open. It is only afterwards, in her studio, that she sets to work with editing
the material, reducing the shots to the bare essentials, reinforcing their contrasts, and translating
them into black-and-white - a process elaborated until they culminate in sign-like, abstract patterns.

The interplay of these sequences generates a polyphonic composition of animated forms and structures
that, in constant metamorphosis, usurps the architecture of the setting. Differing in tempo and
alignment, the fleeting images flow together into a streaming rhythm, they quickly form into ordered
structures, only to almost immediately dissolve and take on a new shape. This effect is reinforced by
a subtle sound, a soft gurgling and bubbling recorded underwater with a hydrophone - contributed to
the installation by the sound artist Klaus Osterwald.

Two colour slide projections in the refectory complement the exhibition. They show a dead deer, a
dead rat, both drowned, a powerful symbol for the perpetual cycle of becoming and passing away. In
the vaulted cellar, however, the images once again flow: here Gudrun Barenbrock projects erratic line
drawings into the low-ceiling space which are based on processed video shots. Upon entering this
sweeping cosmos, a "greenhouse for images" does in fact come to life, one consisting of light, space
and movement - and it unfolds a strong sensory presence in this immediate experience.

(Dr. Stefan Rasche, Berlin - "A greenhouse for images",
exhibition "Winterlicht", DA Kunsthaus Kloster Gravenhorst/D, 2015
Translation: Paul Bowman

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