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HEIKE BARANOWSKY, RIDE THE MOON, 2001
HEIKE BARANOWSKY, RIDE THE MOON, 2001
HEIKE BARANOWSKY, RIDE THE MOON, 2001
HEIKE BARANOWSKY, RIDE THE MOON, 2001Mondfahrt © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2021. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin. © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2021. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin. 2001
The moon is revered in many cultures around the world: in Egypt with the moon goddess Isis, in ancient Rome it was Luna, according to which the first day of the week is still today in loan translation from Latin this lunae, Mon (d) day means. The ruler of the night and “moon counter” Tsukiyomi is also prominently represented in Japanese Shinto shrines, while the Aztecs thanked Tecciztecatl for his light in the dark of night. Despite this ritual significance, no direct influence of the moon on humans and other living beings on earth has been scientifically proven: only a few migratory birds and certain nocturnal insects orient themselves in their navigation to the position of the moon disc.
In Heike Baranowsky's video installation Moon tripfrom the year 2001 the earth satellite offers very little opportunity for orientation. Rather, he himself sways across the night sky like a drunk who cannot find his way home. It never disappears from the projected picture frame and flits, dancing, lively, then tentatively groping like a searchlight across the wall. It finds no support, nor does it offer any, it has left its steady path, which has been familiar since time immemorial. But how was the cosmic order abolished? How does this strange movement come about? The explanation is very simple. The artist made her film recordings on board a ferry between Harwich in England and Hamburg. On a full moon night, she set up her camera and fixed it on the moon. The animation of the celestial body took care of the roll of the ship and the movements due to the swell. It is not the subject that moves, but the camera.
Through the movements, the romantic gravitas of the moon, which inspired longing works of art, is lost, from figures in the pictures of Caspar David Friedrich to the Blue moonElvis Presley began pleadingly. Instead, the terrestrial satellite bounces and wobbles with unsteady rhythms in the defined playing field of the projected image surface, and is therefore hardly suitable for romantic contemplations. Rather, the viewer is thrown back on himself and their subjective perspective - what really moves the moon?
This is less about gravitas than gravitation: the artist has created a small conceptual loop. The moon is not entirely innocent of the ship's movements. Because the swell that causes the camera to sway is mainly caused by the wind, but also by the tides. And those in turn are subject to the gravitational pull of the moon. The circle is completed, the moon moves the ship, the camera and finally itself in the projection.
This realization is sobering and cannot properly explain the attraction of the video images. Many of Heike Baranowsky's video works appear hermetic, cool and unemotional in their formal reduction. The often very short sequences of shots, with their characteristic unmoved gaze, show everyday motifs and were arranged by her in endless loops. Through the precise montage of forward and backward moving images, the artist succeeds in not freezing the captured moment, but in continual repetition extending it into eternity. The documentary sobriety of her images contrasts with the geometry inherent in the repetitions and thus thematizes the deceptive difference between reality and nature, their technical-artistic depiction in the video and our own perception, which from our experience is normal and correct.
The starting point is mostly temporal rhythms, which Baranowsky repeatedly assembles into new, complex and surprising figures, such as her video triptych Cyclist (rabbit and hedgehog)from the year 2000. In three projection surfaces arranged next to each other, it shows two identical-looking cyclists who are circling on a cycling track. Exactly the same sequence is shown in different tempos: on the right in real time, in the middle by ten percent and on the left by twenty percent. In the overall picture, it can hardly be seen that the videos are played at different speeds. Instead, it creates the illusion of an impossible continuum, as if cyclists could go from one projection to the next and even overtake themselves.
In reality, the race only takes place in the eyes of the beholder, who put the fragments together themselves. It is not by chance that the title of the work is based on the well-known fairy tale in which the haughty rabbit falls for the ruse of two identical hedgehogs.
Trapped in the senseless loop of a never-ending race, he becomes a victim of his superficial perception. The popular fairy tale was published in 1840 by the dialect poet Wilhelm Schröder, with the introductory words: “This story is a lie to tell, boys, but it's true, because my grandfather, whom I got it from, always used to tell it to say: It has to be true, my boy, otherwise you couldn't tell it. "
Heike Baranowsky is less interested in denouncing the differences between true and false or even making a moral judgment. Rather, it challenges the eye's abilities to recognize the fantastic and the improbable even in the realistic imagination. To do this, she uses captivating everyday motifs, such as the moon, racing cyclists or a swimmer in the swimming pool. But the swimmer never takes a breath and never arrives at the edge of the pool, the cyclists seem to be able to overcome the dimensions of space and time, and the moon defies the cosmic order.
That fits the title of the work Moon tripalso conjures up the brief history of the moon landing and the associated conspiracy theories, according to which the moon voyage never took place, but only took place in the media as an event filmed in Hollywood studios. Heike Baranowsky is more refined and precise in her work, she restricts herself to simple, almost schematic processes and closes them together in a circle. In repetition, the impossible happens and does it again and again. The system is model-like, the hypnotic repetition of the same, in geometric variations of digital patterns. In a purely formal game of refractions, reflections and reversals, the artist lurches the possible meanings, like the moon on its idiosyncratic and lonely path - and in its wake the viewer.
The moon is revered in many cultures of the world. In Egypt, Isis was the lunar deity, while in ancient Rome it was Luna, after whom the first day of the week was named: Monday comes from the Latin this lunae, or "moon day." In Japan, the ruler over the night and "Moon Reader" Tsukuyomi is prominently represented in Shinto shrines, and the Aztecs thanked Tecciztecatl for providing light in the darkness of night. Despite these beliefs, no direct influence of the moon on human beings or other forms of earthly life has ever been scientifically proven; only a few migratory birds and certain nocturnal insects orient themselves on the basis of the location of the lunar disk.
The earth’s satellite provides very few opportunities for orientation in Heike Baranowsky’s video installation Moon trip(Lunar Journey) of 2001. Instead, the moon sways over the nocturnal sky like a drunkard who cannot find his way home. Clearly placed in the image, its surface is easily recognizable, and it never disappears from the picture frame; as a projection on the wall, it just moves with curiously dancelike movements, sometimes exhilarated, and often quivering or groping like a searchlight. It finds no footing and also does not provide any; here it has left the fixed and familiar orbit it has had immemorial since time. But how is it that the cosmic order has been rescinded? How does this bizarre movement come about?
The explanation is remarkably simple. The artist recorded her film while aboard a ferry traveling from the English port town of Harwich to Hamburg. During a full moon night, she directed her camera at the moon and fixed it. The animation of the celestial body was thus provided by the rolling ship and the movement of the rough sea. It is therefore not the motif that moves, but the camera itself.
In Baranowsky’s work, the romantic gravitas of the moon, which has inspired artworks of desire such as the figures in paintings by Caspar David Friedrich or the Blue moon that Elvis Presley sang to so imploringly, has been lost. Instead, the earth’s satellite hops about with an irregular rhythm, wobbling in the predefined playing field of the projected pictorial surface, and is thus hardly suitable any longer as the subject of romantic observations. Viewers are instead cast back upon themselves and their own subjective perspectives, and are led to ask "What really moves the moon?"
The work deals less with gravitas than with gravitation. The artist has created a small conceptual loop. The moon is not entirely innocent when it comes to the ship’s movements. While the waves that cause the camera’s peculiar swaying movements are primarily caused by the wind, they are also influenced by the tides, which, in turn, are influenced by the moon’s own gravitational force. Thus, everything comes full circle: the moon moves the ship, the camera, and, ultimately, itself in the projection.
This recognition is sobering and cannot really explain the attractiveness of the video images. In their formal reduction, many of Baranowsky’s videos seem hermetic, cool, and emotionless. The often fairly short film sequences with their characteristically dispassionate look show everyday motifs that the artist has arranged into loops. Baranowsky succeeded in not freezing the captured movement, and through the careful montaging of images running forwards or in reverse, she was able to expand it into eternity by means of constant repetitions that bring to mind the Greek hero Sisyphus. The documentary austerity of Baranowsky's images contrasts with the inherent geometry of the repetitions, and thus deals with the ever-so-deceptive difference between reality and nature, its technical and artistic illustration in the video, and our own perception of things, judged by our experience to be normal and correct.
Temporal rhythms usually serve as the starting point in the process, and Baranowsky assembles these into consistently new, complex, and surprising figures, as in her video triptych Cyclist (rabbit and hedgehog)(Biker [The Hare and the Hedgehog]; 2000). On three projection surfaces arranged next to each other, the work depicts two identical-looking bikers riding in circles on a racecourse. The exact same sequence is shown at different speeds: in real time on the right, slowed down by ten percent in the middle, and slowed down by twenty percent on the left. As a total image, it is almost impossible to recognize that the videos are being played back at different speeds. Instead, the illusion of an impossible continuum is created, as if the bikers were able to ride from one projection into the next, and even to overtake themselves.
In reality, however, the race only takes place in the eye of the viewer, who assembles the fragments. It is no accident that the title already references the well-known fairy tale in which the arrogant hare falls for the trick of the two identical hedgehogs. Caught up in the futile loop of an unending competition, the hare becomes the victim of his superficial perception. The old, handed-down tale was published in 1840 by the dialect poet Wilhelm Schröder with these introductory words: “This story is told fraudulently, boys, but it is nevertheless true, because my grandfather, from whom I heard it, was in the custom of saying when he told it: 'It has to be true, my boy, otherwise one would not be able to tell it.' ”
Baranowsky is less concerned with pillorying the difference between true and false or even with making a moral judgment. Rather, she challenges the eye’s capacity to recognize the fantastic and the implausible in the realistic imagination. To do so, she makes use of tempting everyday motifs, such as the moon, bikers, or a female swimmer in a swimming pool. But the swimmer never takes a breath and never arrives at the edge of the pool, the bikers seem to overcome the dimensions of time and space, and the moon defies the cosmic order of things.
The viewer is led astray, and abysses open up with the doubt of one’s own perception. It is suitable that the title of the piece, Moon trip(Lunar Journey), also evokes the brief history of the moon landing and the associated conspiracy theories claiming that the manned voyage to the moon never occurred, but only took place as a filmed event in a Hollywood studio. Baranowsky is more sophisticated and precise in her work; she limits herself to simple, almost schematic processes and ties the ends together. The implausible occurs in the repetition, and over and over again at that. The system comprising the hypnotic repetition of the same thing in geometric variations of digital patterns is exemplary. With it, the artist causes potential interpretations to careen in a purely formalistic play of refractions, reflections, and reversals, like the moon in its capricious and lonely orbit — and, in its retinue, the viewer, too.
Angela RosenbergBaranowsky Heike 4151 4065 4051 4049 4059 11381
HEIKE BARANOWSKY, RIDE THE MOON, 2001
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