PETER AERSCHMANN [ video art ]

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Kunstverein Freiburg DE, 2006, Catalog 'Unsichtbare Welten'

(…) Peter Aerschmann also uses the medium of film as a means of creating a tension between the real and the fictitious. His video instal­lations present archetypal images drawn from a col­lective experience of the urban environment but manipulate these to render them uncanny, abstrac­ting reality into a synthetic reflection of itself. Like Koester's film, Aerschmann's work avoids a psycho­logically motivated narrative structure and yet the possibility for the audience to intervene in certain works, to use their own memories to assemble the sequences, nevertheless allows stories to be created. It is this gap between what we know and experience and how we represent or imagine it that is investiga­ted by Aerschmann. The artist's focus on the move­ments we perform unreflectively hundreds of times a day produces a melancholy kind of humour, so that the repetitious walking on the spot in many of the works is both comic and bathetic. When the figures are no longer progressing but merely suspended in a Beckettian state of waiting, as in Mitte, 2001, or 5th Street, 2006, their vulnerability becomes more pain­ful. Aerschmann photographs places that al­ready carry in them the idea of repetition - squares, stations, observations from rooftops, the circling of seagulls. In Möwen, 2005, for example, the grey block of flats provides a foil for the flock of wheeling seagulls, their freedom and fluidity contrasting with the solidity of the man-made environment. The en­suing loop structure draws attention not only to the urban patterns of vertical and horizontal lines, geo­metric order and flux, monotony and colour in works such as Mitte, but also to our own continually mean­dering thoughts. Aerschmann uses his databank of images as a painter would a palette, selecting, mi­xing, editing and experimenting with ever new com­binations. Details that we would pass by in the street are emphasised and invested with new meaning, whether the colour of a woman's coat, the amusing gait of a dog or the way in which architecture acts as a backdrop to human activity. Just as in Koester's work, the seemingly unprepossessing sub­ject matter of Aerschmann's videos, as well as the lightness of touch with which they are presented is charged with a deeper significance: the ordinary be­comes the surreal, the anti-drama provides more suspense than the spectacular. Indeed, the artists presented in Invisible Worlds share a fascination for and sensitivity to areas that, in remaining on the fringes of what are still considered to be the key artistic concerns, are actually some of the most thought-provoking: from the romanticism of Koester's film and the melancholy underpinning Aerschmann's work to Cattrell's translation of scien­tific ideas, Macia's exploration of sound as a form of sculpture and the theme of permanent failure that lies at the heart of Courbot's ephemeral inter­ventions. The research that each of the artists is en­gaged in and the path of discovery they have set themselves results in works that in attempting to materialise the immaterial are not easily consumed but make us think about what we see or experience unreflectively every day. (Kunstverein Freiburg, „Unsichtbare Welten“, 2006)