Markus WirthmannMarkus Wirthmann
Exhibitions 2008

Markus Wirthmann

Markus Wirthmann
Äolische Prozesse: "Wüste Neuenhaus" (exhibition view)

Aeolian and Other Processes

June 22nd to August 31st, 2008
Introduction by Peter Lang

Natural experimentation and art - a contradiction?  Markus Wirthmann (born 1963, Germany) shows a synthesis of the two disciplines in his work.  With great simplicity, he visualizes technical procedures and processes, reduces them to basic physical events, and then plays with them so they become aesthetic artifacts.  Wirthmann uses fans to initiate aeolian processes (wind-generated and shaped structures in fine sand) and thus the installation changed repeatedly depending on the wind itself.  In his recent work, Wirthmann focuses more on painting:  he creates different-colored layered images and a series of so-called "Lackoolithen" and "Kitchen Science".  The latter are constructed from plastic layers and image scans, which are built and stacked together.  In the Kunstverein, the video installation "Swan Lake" shows a version of the aeolian processes and the new "Kitchen Science" series.  Markus Wirthmann lives and works in Berlin.

A lecture by the artist will be held on August 22nd and corresponds to the presentation of the exhibition catalog.

"Hiking and Flow

Can a sculptor form sculptures from water or sand?  He can:
Meanwhile, 1.5 tons of fine reddish sand trickles down from the attic through a small hole in the rear gallery space of the Kunstverein, forming under the influence of two fans a rhythmically shaped sand landscape reminiscent of desert or beach sand dunes.  Aeolian processes, which are geological phenomenons that are created from the movements of wind, create a variety of landforms and deposits.  Wirth's installation with sand mimics these physical processes, as the two wind blowers act continuously, and prompt the appearance of temporary aesthetic events.
Wirthmann seeks to find the hidden beauty "behind things", especially those that happen to chance and do not seem to last forever - only for the moment.  As a kind of artistic researcher, he determines only the formal starting point and the experimental arrangement - and then leaves everything to the uncontrolled physical way of things.  In place of the fixed artistic end result, he delivers a constantly changing piece with fascinating and stunning aesthetic results.  Like the wind, the dunes almost imperceptibly moved through the countryside and always provided new structures of ruts and ripples on the surface.  The scope and form of the work is changed by the light breeze from the two gallery-fans.  And as the wandering sunlight always dances over sand in nature, so do the lights in the Kunstverein constantly find new lights, shades, and impressions of perception in the sand.  Since the installation material of sand is so mundane and the light-blowing apparatus so brittle, this work, the permanent movement translated into images, thereby becomes a metaphor for existential experience.  It lives because of Wirthmann's genius conditioning, taking his momentum and going on to create a powerful and poetic aesthetic of itself.
Everything moves in this sand installation - and everything flows in the video "Swan Lake".  Here Wirthmann draws circles on a lake with a model boat.  The focus of the camera is primarily on the waves and circles as the turbulent water is pulled into motion - again an uncontrolled scene of temporary sculptural shapes that are controlled by the speed, shape, and weight of the boat."  (Thomas Kriegisch, excerpt from Grafschaften Nachrichten 8/23/2008). Translation: Taylor Champoux


The exhibition was supported by the Lower Saxony Lottostiftung, the state of Lower Saxony, the Samtgemeinde Neuenhaus and the Deppe ceramic brick company, Neuenhaus.