Recourse to Space

Christoph Zitzlaff, A Cave for Plato, 2009

Flashes of light in the basement – initially a scarcely decipherable image that is entirely baffling at first glance. An image that is cast in stroboscope manner at regular intervals onto the wall as a diapositive slide, one that increasingly burns itself onto our perception, one that ultimately unalienably inculcates itself into the system of coordinates of the architecture, space and light. What happens in this little den, this room full of nooks and crannies under the cellar landing at Villa Ingenohl which Carsten Gliese transforms, in his typically subtle manner, into a panopticon of perception?
The title of Gliese’s work “Sklave” (Slave) is a programme in its own right. For the constantly flashing slide produced by a photographic flashbulb mounted on a tripod is a shot of the projection apparatus itself, photographed backwards as a multiple exposure in this same cellar. Slave means this “Xenolux” lamp constantly remains chained to itself and is forced to project an image of itself over and over again in never-ending repetition – a Sisyphus-like, constant recourse to itself and the room around it happening every second. In Gliese’s words, Slave is the visualisation of “the dependency of a lamp on itself.”
And yet quite a lot more besides. Because by exploring the specificities of the location the artist and Cologne resident perpetuates his intense focus on multiply fragmented and incapsulated perceptions of space and perspective one bit further. The fact that the slide of the “Xenolux” lamp also depicts the surrounding space in the cellar and, in a way, reflects this back on itself triggers a double space continuum. It in fact triggers a perpetuation of the location thanks to an artistic light intervention very much in the tradition of the teachings of perception, thanks to the creation of extreme perception. The result is this self-reflective, distorting mirror experience of space and light, of surface and inner structure, a virtual sounding out of both the possibilities of perspective of this spatial reality in Bonn and the intrinsic qualities of the images per se. “I build with light,” says Carsten Gliese. As a modern visual architect for “Sklave” he first excoriated the existing spatial structure of the slightly mildewed room from itself thus fragmenting it to then put it back together again in a new constellation with the bewilderingly sublime stroboscope effect that bonds together the images, shadows and light bars arising from the shooting and projection process, and the fore- and background as well as the surroundings.