Olaf Nicolai, Bumerang (Still #1–121), 2015
With his “Théorie du nuage,” Hubert Damisch presented a study of what artists have known for a long time: clouds, whose depiction permits for widely varied gradations of abstraction and physicality, occupy a central place in visual art. Olaf Nicolai’s edition for TEXTE ZUR KUNST may be read as a cloud study, a genre represented in art history by painters like John Constable, who created almost abstract compositions of colors and surfaces. Yet as in Constable, the delicately blended hues of blue and white also derive from an investigation of concrete wind and weather conditions: the edition consists of stills from a film shot using a camera mounted on a boomerang. Each print represents a different moment during the flight recorded on film. Like most of Nicolai’s photographic works, Bumerang (Still # 1–121) was conceived as a series (compare Z Point, 2013, or Hotel Nacional Rio, 2014), and it is only in the context of this series that the images fully reveal themselves: the movement arrested in the individual film still resurfaces in the juxtaposition with other images.
This movement also gestures toward another of Nicolai’s works: in his contribution to this year’s Venice Biennial, three protagonists appear as living statues on the German pavilion’s roof. Testing boomerang throws and exploring the ideal aerodynamic and climate conditions and throwing techniques, they also demonstrate the ritual quality of the object’s perpetual return. For the production of this edition, it was equipped with a camera, becoming, in effect, a drone, though its eye was trained on the sky rather than the ground.
Mediun: Archival pigment print
Size: 32.5 × 50 cm
Edition of 100 + 20 A.P. This is an edition of individual film stills; each still is unique!
Numbered and signed on the back
Price: € 350
Tobias Zielony, Screen, 2015
The work of German artist Tobias Zielony is based on a complex understanding of his prime medium, photography – one that engages with this art form’s documentary tradition. With attention to the formal aspects of the photographic picture, Zielony’s work zeroes in on the dynamics of the social sphere; an approach that also shows in his contribution for the German pavilion at this year’s Venice Bienniale, in which he portraits refugees and migrants who live in Germany.
For his edition for TEXTE ZUR KUNST, which is connected to this long term project, Zielony superimposes multiple levels of form, medium, and our political present. The artist took this digital image during a screening that he organized at B movie in Hamburg, an independent cinema that draws a critically-engaged audience. The photograph captures the silhouette of a man standing in front of a screen, and, subtly, also the concrete spatial conditions within that institution at the moment of the screening – the red and blue halos emit from a lighting system installed on a stage next to the projected image. We further see a shot from the film on view, Jean-Pierre Bekolo’s Le président, a parable on the political conditions in Cameroon, where this work has been censored. Screen thus records not only a medial encounter of photography and film, but also the circumstances under which art can intervene politically – for example, through facilitating, making visible, or remembering acts of political resistance.
Medium: Archival pigment print on RAUCH PGC 260 FD
Size: 20 x 30 cm
Edition of 100 + 20 A.P.
Numbered and signed on the back
Price: € 350
Heimo Zobernig, ohne Titel, 2015
Vienna-based artist Heimo Zobernig hardly needs an introduction, and for coordinates for his new TEXTE ZUR KUNST edition – a small black box made of cardboard and resin – one need look no farther than his transformation of the Austrian Pavilion at this year’s Venice Biennale, where Zobernig has canceled the building’s distinctive architecture (its tile floor, light-shedding clerestory windows, classical tripartite arches) by laying a black plywood ground and filling the upper register of the space with a monolithic black construction. It’s an apt metaphor to say that such occupation of all registers is characteristic of Zobernig’s work, which is known for its ability to carry a line of critique through a dizzying spectrum of forms (as he has in his now three editions for this journal, riffing on the interminable black square) – and yet never to such an extent that these associations congeal into didactic correlation.
For this edition one may find, for example, in the box’s corrugated material support, a reference (perhaps) to the telltale and once contested fluting on the Austrian Pavilion’s façade; or in its colorless form, a link to his obscuring of the pavilion’s proto-modernist halls. (In fact, this piece is a recreation of a unique work he made in 1991). It’s been said that Zobernig operates with laconic precision, and yet one is always called to determine for oneself where, exactly, the punch line hits. With this untitled “black box,” does he offer a theater or a mausoleum, a recording device or the sacred Kaaba? Whatever you surmise, it’s scaled to be held in the palm of your hand.
Medium: Synthetic resin varnish, cardboard
Size: 10 x 10 x 10 cm
Edition of 80 + 20 A.P.
Numbered and signed on the bottom
Price: € 450 / additional amount € 80
These editions are available at Texte zur Kunst