With his new installation, SOL, Kurt Hentschläger creates a radically minimalistic environment, leading visitors into the far reaches of their perception along subjective and objective realities. The installation builds on loss of control, shifts in awareness and a feeling of dislocation and timelessness. The world premiere of SOL will be presented in the cavernous Halle am Berghain in Berlin during CTM Festival 2017. Supported by the Austrian Cultural Forum and the ENCAC network, SOL was co-commissioned by OK Offenes Kulturhaus Oberösterreich, Linz, as curated by Isabelle Meiffert.
SOL is the latest in a series of works that defy the possibilities of generalisation or classification, reaching our innermost and original perceptual experiences. It invades the visitor so as to enable a spontaneous experience of spatial and sensory over-stimulation. The installation becomes an inter-performative apparatus that triggers subjective reactions and attempt to grasp a sense of the reality at hand. Yet the experience itself remains unnamable and ungraspable. It appeals to consciousness and awareness by creating a radical environment where the stratified interactions of light, motion, or ambience allow the luminous emergence of darkened voids. SOL is an inter-communicable void and solid light environment where visitors become aware of the environment’s and their own essential phenomenal condition. Light is the agent that allows one to aim for subjective experiences; it transforms the surrounding space into an almost architectural pulsation of void. Like Hentschläger’s 2008 immersive audiovisual environment ZEE, visitors are greeted with “an abstract luminous landscape” the perception of which has nothing to do with an optical perception of sorts, that would appropriate the surrounding environment. Instead, they need to compose, recompose, or decompose mental landscapes and sensory geographies. Audiences experience an inability to see ‘properly’ and the necessity to reach out physically in order to perceive the blinding obstructions of the mind. As they immerse into the pool of voiding light, ordinary impressions of referential objects or perspectives are rendered invisible. This is, in fact, a luminous obstruction of the very pre-ordered impulse to rationalize our experiences; a luminous alteration, pulsation, and intermittence that frees one’s senses and makes manifest the subjective structures of the mind. By removing sensory control, visitors enter a field of sensory perception, reception, and acceptance.
While free for the opening night, tickets are required for entry, and can be purchased for the specific visit day of your choice. As the installation is limited to 25 people at a time, visitors are asked to expect short wait times until the next available session. Advance ticket holders will be given priority over visitors who purchase a ticket at the door. Visitors will also be required to sign a waiver, due to the installation’s destabilising effect, which may be disturbing to some. The preview of SOL takes place on January 27 at 15:00 at Halle am Berghain in Berlin. At 16:00 there will be the book release of Splendid Voids – The Immersive Works of Kurt Hentschläger, to include a conversation between Kurt Hentschläger, Detlev Pusch (Art Director), and Isabelle Meiffert (Editor and Curator) about the challenges of a book about works which cannot be meaningfully documented. The public opening of SOL takes place 19:00 – 22:00.
Chicago based Austrian artist Kurt Hentschläger creates audiovisual installations and performances. Between 1992 and 2003 he worked collaboratively within the artist duo “Granular-Synthesis.” Hentschläger’s works have characteristically been visceral and immersive, as in ZEE and FEED, with extreme perceptual effects, composed from light, sound and fog. These works physiologically transport the viewer quite literally into another world. His CLUSTER series builds on the uncanny, by portraying 3D representations of humanoid creatures that can only exist in dynamic flux, seeming to swirling and flow like the wind, apparently unhinged from the screen that they are projected on. His most recent, emerging body of work including MEASURE is tracing the perception of “nature” in the 21st century.
Selected presentations include the Venice Biennial, the Venice Theater Biennial, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, PS1 New York, Creative Time, Inc. New York, MAC – Musée d’Art Contemporain Montreal, MAK – Museum of Applied Arts Vienna, National Art, ZKM Karlsruhe, Museum of China Beijing, National Museum for Contemporary Art Seoul, ICC Tokyo, Arte Alameda Mexico City, MONA – Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart, Tasmania. In 2010 he won the Quartz Media Art Award in Paris. In 2012 he was commissioned, as part of the Cultural Program of the 2012 London Olympics / London Festival, to create CORE, a large-scale, symphonic installation. Most recently he works on two large-scale installations: ORT, an outdoor projection in Le Havre on Oscar Niemeyer’s “Le Volcan” for 2017 and SOL, an immersive audiovisual installation which will premiere at Berghain in Berlin in January 2017.
From 2013 to 2015 he was a full time Visiting Artist at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, he will return to teach there again 2016 to 2018.