Alexander Gutke | Berlin 2008


December 13, 2008 – March 14, 2009

Engaging issues of self-reflexivity, illusionism, narrative and cinema, the work of Alexander Gutke is marked by a mystical materialism. Through analytically investigating the composition of devices such as cameras and slide projectors, he valorizes their unseen mechanisms as fertile spaces for the imagination.

For his first solo exhibition in Berlin at Galerija Gregor Podnar Alexander Gutke exhibits four new and recent works, all of which thematically explore space, light and the void. These themes intersect to suggest a transcendental experience of seeing, like allegories of looking, in which so much is suggested with so little.

The projection Cine-scope (2008) is a looped animation in which a piece of celluloid is penetrated on a quasi-microscopic level, such that the scratches and dust on the film come to resemble a forest brushing by the viewer. This work speaks to the trance-like state that may occur with the prolonged viewing of an uneventful film (such as Andy Warhol’s Empire), where texture comes to replace a lack of any real narrative content. In Lighthouse (2006), a projected, white rectangle rotates by degrees as if retracing a single slide’s journey around all 81 slots of the mechanism’s carousel. Creating the illusion of space on the wall, the slide window’s revolution could be likened to a light beam’s lap around a lighthouse.

Camera (2008) is a steel maquette of Thomas Edison’s kinetographic film studio built in 1893. Gutke has covered the maquette in a photographic emulsion, thereby transforming the model into an exposed negative that absorbs its surroundings like a black hole. In Subtraktion (2007) the phrase “all the colors of the dark” is repeatedly stamped on a piece of paper with the subtractive printing colors, cyan, magenta and yellow, until the surfeit of color generates a near-black blob. By saturating the white piece of paper with color, Gutke subtracts light from its surface, creating, in effect, all the colors of the dark.