Ever since its discovery, gravity has lent visual imagery a huge additional weight; neither the hung, the pressed, the encased, the layered, that which runs into itself, sinks into itself, the fixed, the erect, or the slack should ever be deprived of their irony. That poses no problem, however, for Berlin artist Tilman Wendland! The coincidental and the deliberate are reassembled in his work in such a way that what exists appears contrived and that which was created a simulated necessity.

Untitled, 2006. PCV, 800 x 600 x 360 cm. Installation view, Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporaneo, Mexico. Courtesy of the artist

Wendland’s installations and spatial constructions are characterized by a particular interplay between the choice of materials, spatial properties and the purpose of objects. His technique consists mostly of assimilating ‘simple’ materials like PVC, paper or panels of MDF into spaces so that the result appears either unlikely or almost inconspicuous. For one piece in a Berlin gallery he forced a large piece of white cardboard to bend under its own weight into a curve resembling that of the ceiling above it, with the result that card and ceiling appeared to simulate each other (1). With the same or similar materials, often white, Wendland typically creates coincidences, sometimes parasitical, sometimes corrective, always looking for the tiniest, shared exact fit. Such additions are more than simply a comment on the architecture; they themselves behave like architecture.

Untitled, 2005. Cardboard, tape, 600 x 320 cm. Installation view, carlier gebauer, Berlin. Courtesy of the artist

Wendland’s works cannot be imagined; they must be created, in order to be confronted with their successful completion. The minimization of risks occurring is thereby dependent on Wendland’s correct deployment of the ‘economy’ of the individual work, in other words from the relationship between strength, quality and nature of the material, time and duration of the work, and location. On the other hand, Wendland also turns again and again to his archive of photographs, intended as a collection of materials, in order to accentuate the general feeling for the connection between the affinities between motifs he has observed or created, and the laws of gravity. The photo of a vest hung up to dry can thus provide the premise for a hanging, folded paper construction in the corner of a room. Or perhaps it was the other way around? The photographs, which Wendland sometimes releases individually from the booklets he creates for his exhibitions, certainly do not answer this question.

Martin Conrads

(1) ticker zehn, carlier | gebauer, 2005.

Untitled, 2006. Cardboard, masonite, magazine copy, varible dimensions. Courtesy of the artist & European Art Projects. Photo: Krzysztof Zieliński

[further images of the installation]