Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 2015


The Schirn Kunsthalle Frank­furt presents the Berlin artist Alicja Kwade’s instal­la­tion “Die bewegte Leere des Moments” (The Void of the Moment in Motion) specif­i­cally devel­oped for its Rotunda from March 26 until June 14, 2015. The work leaves leeway for subjec­tive percep­tion and asso­ci­a­tion. The threat it radi­ates makes itself almost phys­i­cally felt. Or is it rather a feeling of uncer­tainty, of irri­ta­tion that creeps up on the viewer? A motor with a circular thread is mounted in the center of the ceiling of the publicly acces­sible Rotunda. The stone with a diam­eter of about thirty centime­ters hanging on a chain reaches to the upper, second story. A large, two-sided analogue clock with a diam­eter of about fifty centime­ters has been mounted across from it at the height of the lower, first story. Both objects rotate around the central axis of the cylinder-shaped space and are inces­santly reflected in the building's fenes­trated façade covered with mirror backing foil.

“Frequently remi­nis­cent of phenomena in the field of natural science, Alicja Kwade's objects ques­tion our percep­tion of things and call for perma­nent reeval­u­a­tion. After including some of her works in the group show Infi­nite Jest in 2014, the Schirn is pleased to offer the artist its central Rotunda for a solo presen­ta­tion,” says Max Hollein, Director of the Schirn Kunsthalle Frank­furt.

Matthias Ulrich, curator of the exhi­bi­tion, adds that “the artist raises doubts. Her works stretch an aspect of reality up to a point where it threatens to tilt or actu­ally does so, gener­ating some­thing impos­sible, some­thing that has not existed before. Objects which seem to be of value, yet only reflect the appear­ance of some­thing valu­able, turn into optical traps for the viewer's percep­tion and raise ques­tions after social agree­ments and construc­tions.”

The objects following their infi­nite paths at unchanging speed produce a variety of sensory stimuli. You hear the monot­o­nous ticking of the clock, and the contin­uing move­ment causes a constant hissing sound. The reflec­tion brings forth an endless multi­pli­ca­tion and doubling, which deprives the Rotunda of its spatial bound­aries and creates a limit­less number of parallel universes. Being at the mercy of this all-embracing circular move­ment, man is, as it were, entirely inte­grated into a specific cosmos. With her instal­la­tion “Die bewegte Leere des Moments” (The Void of the Moment in Motion), Alicja Kwade opens up a space of its own for the visitor, a space that offers possi­bil­i­ties for new perspec­tives and consid­er­a­tions, increases the viewer's powers of concen­tra­tion, and sharpens all his senses. What do I actu­ally see? What do time, motion, and space mean for the indi­vidual? To what extent do scien­tific find­ings provide orien­ta­tion and support in this specific constel­la­tion?

What is reality? What is percep­tion? What is social consent? These are the key issues the works of the Berlin-based artist Alicja Kwade are concerned with. In exploring these issues, the artist keeps returning to scien­tific, philo­soph­ical and even econom­ical phenomena such as doubling, defor­ma­tion, time, or grav­i­ta­tion. And she finds graphic solu­tions and precise pictures for these subjects in her instal­la­tions, sculp­tures, video works, and photographs. Many of her works strike us as exper­i­mental arrange­ments which, however, cast doubt on, and break up, the absolute­ness of scien­tific laws and collec­tive values and their under­standing. Abstract things become concrete. Kwade also adds a social compo­nent to these arrange­ments by making power strate­gies her theme, for example. Rela­tion­ships are reviewed, familiar things are reassessed, normality is rede­fined.