Gallerynote 2/2002

March 19 to May 11, 2002

Artist and designer Andreas Christen (b. 1936) assigns a central value to space, perceiving spatiality as a reality of the first order of magnitude. Objects unfold within the space, accentuating it and surveying its dimensions. Manmade objects represent the cultural achievements that make the world inhabitable. Works of art and commodities occupy and interpret the lebensraum. Andreas Christen has made the fundamental significance of space the starting point for his creative activity and reflections. At times, he has characterized his works as equipment for discussing space.

These pieces intervene in the continuum of spatial experience, interrupting and structuring it. Isolated and restricted, spatial characteristics are thematized. As a subconscious process, perception enters into the observer’s consciousness. Conditions of spatial perceiving become apparent. The object encompasses no volume, yet at the same time does not exclude space. It resists all further projections and assignations of meaning.

For a good ten years now, the artist has used MDF boards as material for his works. The individual components are joined together, remaining autonomous as a planar surface. The intersecting planes form lines, not illusionistic surface divisions but real factors of holistic spatial and formal occurrence. The finished objects are sanded and sprayed white, their materiality receding to create a uniform visual impression. Light-determined shadings give clear definition to the tilted planes and become evident as basic conditions of spatial seeing.

The inclination of the surfaces, their formal division and repetition as well as the size of the components and their relationship to the overall object constitute important creative devices. In recent years, he has begun using limitation of the object to articulate the infinite extension of space. The limitation is often established as a fragment, as a cutout of an overarching structure. Or the cutting follows the quadratic structure of a work, allowing the adjacent peripheral space to intervene in the object. The interplay of formal internal organization and adjoining space thus refers to the virtual continuation of the structure in infinite space.

For Andreas Christen as both artist and product designer, there are inescapable guidelines and axioms. Ethics and aesthetics are mutually contingent and exhibit a reciprocal corrective function. In the same way, a balanced and requisite relationship of individual and collective forms the basis for acceptable societal circumstances of life. Ideally, the artist and designer is able to effect and encounter things of importance at such interfaces.

This exhibition is the eighth individual presentation of works by Andreas Christen with Annemarie and Gianfranco Verna. In 1994, Dr. Dieter Schwarz developed a retrospective for the Kunstmuseum Winterthur, which was subsequently shown by the Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain de Bourgogne, Dijon, the Musée des Beaux-Arts, La Chaux-de-Fonds, and the Josef Albers Museum, Quadrat, Bottrop (catalogue).


Agnes Martin – The Nineties and Beyond. Menil Collection, Houston,
February 1 to May 26, 2002. Catalogue. To mark her ninetieth birthday.