30 October - 04 December 2021
Once again, a few words are suffice to characterise the essence of Björn Drenkwitz’s artistic work; in his new exhibition, too, his works are all about time. Under the title AUS.ZEIT, we present graphics, photographic works, installations and video works that deal in various ways with the progress of time, a central concern of the artist.
Time, as Felix Ruhöfer wrote in his essay „Aspects of the Temporal in the Works of Björn Drenkwitz“, is thematised in Drenkwitz’s works „not as an external, philosophical phenomenon, but as a radical coupling between the experience of the passing of individual temporality and the immanent performance duration of his works“. This is especially true of his current video works „10 Minutes / 10 Years“ and „Apnoea“, which throw the protagonists, but also the recipients, back onto the subjective moment of experiencing time.
But also in his cyanotypes, with which he tries to „fix temporality visually“ (Ruhöfer), the viewers are confronted with their own perception of time by superimposing different time sequences. In the series of paintings entitled „Vanitas“, which Drenkwitz has been working on since 2017 and whose most recent variants can be seen in the exhibition, he combines various artistic techniques and ideas that make the course of time visible.
This begins with the recourse to cyanotype, a 19th-century photographic technique that makes it possible to make the passage of time visible through a slow development time. The time needed for a fold thus becomes the development time of the sheet. In addition, he uses the origami technique for his motifs, in which the temporal process itself is inscribed. It requires concentration, focus, perseverance, patience and practice to fold a sheet of paper into a work of art. Thirdly, he draws on baroque vanitas motifs in the folds, which he transfers to contemporary art via the Japanese folding technique. In a final step, in which he unfolds the cyanotype papers again after their exposure, he transfers the vanitas motifs into abstraction.
It becomes clear that in the interplay of cyanotype, origami and vanitas motifs, the concept of the linearity of time is combined with the idea of a cyclical passage of time. A concept of time that is also reflected in other works in the exhibition. For example, in his oversized hourglass „The Presence of Time“, for which he used ground-up fossil bones of a dinosaur instead of sand, his „Coat of Arms“ series, whose various pictorial levels reflect the complexity of the processes that have formed our present-day nation states over the centuries, or in the graphics „First Breath / Last Cry“, with which Drenkwitz attempts to depict the incomprehensible, life and death.