hubert blanz

frigolite elemente
c-print on dibond, Hubert Blanz, 2004    

The Magic of the Moment

Wolfgang Fiel

The so-called objective reality is an individual construction based on selective perception. If the objects of observation remain within their codified relations of meaning they seldom arouse attention. The normative powers of the everyday and the ordinary yield on the one hand a feeling of security, and on the other a referential backdrop for ‘cognitive orientation’ with respect to phenomena that elude immediate classification.
The sheer presence of material stripped bare of its semantic inscription opens new room for the beholder to construct novel associative scenarios without necessarily forgoing the familiar phenomenological patterns of knowledge.
In this sense Blanz draws upon a motif derived from modernist city-planning based on the dualistic proposition of having a highly condensed skyline against the foreground of a nearly untouched natural environment, the utopian vision of a perfect balance between the city and nature.

Starting point for the construction of corresponding scenarios in Frigolite Elemente is a range of packaging materials made of extruded polystyrene (Frigolite is metonymous for the material), which has been photographically documented from various perspectives and mounted in the field of vision of a fictive observer. Similar to the illustrations of Le Corbusier 1), the observer gazes from a neutral but slightly raised standpoint, located above the level of reference, towards the skyline of a city that in Blanz’s work arises from the specific appearance of an undulating water surface or the arid and ash grey soil of a clay pit. The specific location of each site is indicated by references to its altitude and latitude.
Despite the meticulous composition of the interplay of various volumetric bodies and their degree of morphological peculiarity, the passage between figure and ground appears paradoxically blurred, imbuing the compositional elements of the picture plane with a picturesque atmosphere. The results evoke apocalyptic associations with an agglomeration that has to withstand the oceanic floodwaters of a lagoon city or the terrestrial storm of a lunar colony, whose inhabitants are all gone.
“In the moment I think I am capable of clarifying a magical experience, the problem remains; because I am not clarifying the magical experience but any circumstance, which might lead me to have this magic experience.” 2)

1) Eine Stadt der Gegenwart in Le Corbusier, Der Städtebau, pp. 201-207, Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, Stuttgart, 1979.
2) Quote by Heinz von Foerster from Teil der Welt, p. 33, Carl-Auer-Systeme Verlag, Heidelberg, 2002.

Wolfgang Fiel (english original version)
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