Magazine article Artforum International

Constantin Luser: Christine Konig Galerie

Magazine article Artforum International

Constantin Luser: Christine Konig Galerie

Article excerpt

For six weeks, Constantin Luser lived and worked in the Christine Konig Galerie and filled 132 pieces of paper nailed to the wall with drawings in green and black fineliner. Even the panes of the display windows became part of his "Panoptikum," as the exhibition was called. The drawings were like pages of a mental diary where chains of association emerge, dovetailing events and discoveries, where images reminiscent of anatomical or technical drawings mix with phrases like "field of attention," "community-cloud," and "thought-wanderings"--concepts that circle around the artist's activity without explaining it. It is as if the gates were opened on the daily overflow of information and it all spilled out directly onto the walls, without justification or hierarchy. Some passages were drawn simultaneously with two or more fineliners; the doubling could make you dizzy, as if your eyes had suddenly gone out of focus.

In Luser's hand the idea of the panopticon undergoes an interesting reinterpretation in that it also describes the ordering principle of the work as an omnium-gatherum. In the early nineteenth century, the English philosopher Jeremy Bentham proposed a model for factories and prisons with a central organ of surveillance under this name. Michel Foucault famously took up this idea and characterized it as an ordering principle of disciplinary societies--that is to say, liberal, Western societies. Luser pushes this idea of permanent surveillance ad absurdum, because it is not self-discipline but, rather, liberation from hierarchies and loss of control that guide him: His panopticon lies in the system of "automatic writing. …

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