"About Ambivalence"

KOLUMBA archbishopric museum of art, Cologne, Germany

01. 10. 1996 - 15. 02. 1997

Artists: Louise Bourgeois, Roni Horn, Leiko Ikemura, Richard Tuttle

Subsequent to our “Homage to the Square” the central room of the museum is now dominated by two balls of copper. The change in our series – from the central composition in a painting to a movement through space which, following its own laws, seems undirected – could hardly be more pronounced. In addition to this “Pair Object”, American artist Roni Horn is introduced here with paintings and drawings on paper as well as a series of photographs. In her works, the interferences between timeless space and its expanse may be experienced and the actual room may be felt as determined both by time and space. In doing so, both of these facts seem to apply. This ambivalence of art’s possible experiences of art is the topic of our exhibition. Therefore, it is not the arbitrariness of interpretation which it is often accused of, but rather a calculated dual validity of the works of art. On display are works which – for all their individual fixation – appeal to a room between time and a space outside the past, present or future. A wall tapestry with the Mystic Hunt in the Enclosed Garden (15th/16th century) is shown in contrast to Richard Tuttle’s Cycle “40 days”. Symbols and typological representations of the Middle Ages are placed opposite 40 drawn and painted structures which seem to expand into organisms and stimulate reflection upon what is ultimately unfathomable about life’s coming into existence. The drawings and gouaches by Louise Bourgeois are centred around growth – around what is organic and around landscapes – conjuring states between charm and menace, memory and dream. The aura of the colourful glazed clay sculptures by Leiko Ikemura vacillates between lovely serenity and brutal mutilation which – despite their figurative characteristics – remain so indefinite that they may be perceived in such seemingly contradictory ways at the same time.

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