Hofstetter Kurt: Ich schaue in den Himmel, um mich zu erden. Parallelität und Kreislauf 10
26 February 2010 – 20 March 2010
Sound, light, and computer installations, sculptures in public space, experimental art videos, music compositions, mathematical reflections and the generation of geometric patterns, so-called tessellation – the work of the conceptual and media artist Kurt Hofstetter (born in 1959 in Linz) is diverse and complex, yet still reflects the greatest degree of concentration and unity. Hofstetter approaches the topics of time and space, parallelism and circulation, in a way that is at once curiously playful and scientifically precise.
Represented at the Sevilla (2008) and Venice (2009) biennials, he is known in Austria certainly for his computer installation, Einen Augenblick Zeit (One moment of time), at Vienna’s Südbahnhof from 1994-2009, which today lies prominent placed in a changed constellation at the main entrance of ZKM Karlsruhe: two “time-eyes” hanging opposite one another gave the current time in eye-blink intervals, while under them on the escalator, travelers crossed through the passage – arrival, departure, pause, return.
The media art project Sunpendulum, reflecting space and time, also gave Hofstetter worldwide recognition. In progressive development since 1996, today the installation shows live Internet-transmitted images of sky taken from video cameras installed in twelve time zones around the world. Hawaii, Ensenada, New Orleans, Bermuda, the Azores, Granada, Cairo, Dubai, Calcutta, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and the Marshall Islands are the stations of the time eyes. It is the goal of the project to realize a pavilion – Station PHI – which holds 12 monitors installed together in a circle, and which radiate outward the light captured by them, making it possible to experience day and night in parallel: “With time, that is with the rotation of the Earth, the light of the sun wanders around the Earth: a constant circulation of light parallel to shadow, of day parallel with night.”
With Hofstetter’s design of the Station PHI, he discovered a compass construction in the golden ratio, which was publicized in the 2002 journal, Forum Geometricorum as a scientific innovation, which is also applied in the sculpture created specially for public space, N.I.C. – nature is cool. The sculpture, which in 2009 stood at the corner of Langegasse and Laudongasse in Vienna’s 8th district, and is currently being presented on the occasion of the exhibition at Galerie Konzett, for the first time as an edition – is based on a proportion study with compasses and rulers, which are taken out of their two-dimensionality and raised into the room: three globes, in an offset, layered arrangement, and apparently having slid off-balance, form a plastic simultaneity of stability and instability. Although this sculpture has been realized according to clear principles, the geometric scheme is hidden from the observer in a similar way that one first perceives at closer glance, in nature – for example in the blossom leaves of the rose or the cyme of a sunflower – the blueprint that lends the delicate-seeming plant its structure and basis.
It is the “fascination with the ecstatic showing of the golden section,” in the play with an “abstract” vocabulary of circles, diagonals, and triangles, which Hofstetter uses to evoke ever-new patterns in the genesis of his Tilings, and led, after 2003, to a new work series, the so-called “inductive rotation images.” After exact guidelines – repeated rotation and parallel projection – a static pattern image is created from a simple basic pattern, which through the reception experiences an optic dynamic, into which one is drawn. In light of the seemingly ever-expanding pattern, the brain must fail in its constant attempt to recognize symmetries, and in bringing objective form into congruence with subjective perception. Or, expressed differently, our intellect and our visual sense is stimulated in an effort to understand the aperiodic formal canon as a new, undistorted perception and to trace the Hofstetter-Arabesque with awakened eyes: “What is unique about Hofstetter’s work” is, as Wolf Günter Thiel states, that it is “a geometrical reality itself and can be understood as such. It is then that the search for meaning is established in the sense of a radical constructivism.”
Text: Susanne Längle