Magazine article Artforum International

Markus Raetz

Magazine article Artforum International

Markus Raetz

Article excerpt

MONICA DE CARDENAS

For Markus Raetz, the dream of art is to discover ever-new images, even within a single form. Fulfilling that dream in this exhibition, he offered an experience something like being inside a kaleidoscope. The key to the exhibition lay in a room hidden off to one side. Abstract shapes cut out of thin iron sheets hung from the ceiling; on the floor, two electric hot plates had been placed on a gray wood base. Gradually, as one moved, a myriad of portraits appeared, conjured through various systems of anamorphosis. The heat given off by the hot plates moved the wires holding up the suspended shapes, so that the faces continually changed, sometimes seeming to have closed eyes, sometimes smiling mouths, sometimes appearing concentrated and immobile. Observing this work, Duo, 1998, was a bit like watching a person whose face continually changes in mood and expression. Declaring the impossibility of maintaining a single form based on a fixed viewpoint, its design, using a means as insubstantial as hot air, acquired three-dimensional body.

The three-dimensionality of sculpture was put to the test by this continuous mutation--not only in Duo, but in other works as well. In Si-No, 1996, when one looked sideways at a bronze sculpture carved with the word NO, one saw instead the word YES. The charm of such transformations became even stronger as one realized their underlying theme: the link between the use of words and the creation of the self. What differentiates humans from other species is this capacity to transmute the biological structure of communication into words, sounds, and images in order to interact with others and with the world. …

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