Efremidis Gallery is pleased to launch their new gallery space in Charlottenburg with the exhibition ALL OF THIS AND NOTHING by the Berlin-based artists Susanne Rottenbacher and Claus Rottenbacher.
The boundless staging power of Rome’s Catholic churches in Claus Rottenbacher’s photographic series Prostratio and the monumental light sculpture Disassembly by Susanne Rottenbacher offer fascinating links. The interplay of both positions creates an inner space that negotiates not only the enigmatic force of the churches of Rome, but also the dissolution of their spatial and ideational limits.
Claus Rottenbacher’s interior views of Baroque and Neoclassicist churches allow the viewers to experience the images from a worshipful perspective. The artist’s architectonic strategies in the composition of the series, creates an overwhelming feel for the visitor ; particularly through the monumental design of space reinforced by the extreme lowermost view and the large-format of the analogue photographs. The viewer too, lies on the marble floor of the nave and positively falls into the picture. Any human presence appears ephemeral compared to the richly decorated spatial volume. The polar opposition of divine transcendence and worldliness is further reinforced by the time exposure blurring the figures present in the churches. Claus Rottenbacher’s works quintessentially capture both the contemplative and the performative power of the churches.
The immersive light installation by Susanne Rottenbacher is almost an echo of the overwhelming experience of the church spaces and their upward moving vaults, but transfers it into a whole new dimension. In their complexly choreographed positions, the forms of the organically shaped and expressively conducted LED lights of Disassembly appear to be frozen as in an explosion, and in the process of a dynamic movement.Any definite corporeality is dissolved by the fragmentation of the sculptural elements, creating an experiential space of light and color, dissolution, and boundlessness. This evokes the image of singularity, but also suggests a deconstruction of familiar form and order.
Susanne Rottenbacher creates a space from light that incorporates the viewer, without imposing an interpretation or participation. The luminous polyphony, whose spectrum oscillates from white to intensively chromatic, results in an infinite combination of perspectives, each glimpse of the work is singular: an image for our contemporary global reality.
The artisanal splendor of the Roman Catholic churches points toward the idea of an immaterial spirit, which also seems to be visualized in the oscillating light installation. What could belief and spirit look like without the limiting factors of hierarchy and power?
ALL OF THIS AND NOTHING creates a visual answer to this question—a fascinating visualization of the enigmatic energy with which we seek to enter into a dialogue in sacred spaces. In a hypnotic interplay, Susanne Rottenbacher and Claus Rottenbacher excavate the transcendent force of immersion in the churches from its historic structures and release it in the gallery space.
Claus Rottenbacher took up his photographic practice in 2003, after years of working as an entrepreneur following his studies in industrial engineering (his PhD was funded by the German Research Foundation, DFG). He developed his style of analogue photography from his craft, which can be felt in each individual image. In his matter-of-fact gaze, the emotion is found in the detail. At Efremidis Gallery, Claus Rottenbacher first presents selected Side Shots in a limited edition: the Polaroids originated as sketches of his series and offer fascinating insights into his work process.
Susanne Rottenbacher studied stage design at Columbia University’s Barnard College in New York and holds a Master of Science with a focus on light from Bartlett School of Architecture and Planning, London. She has worked as a stage designer at the Deutsche Oper Berlin and has been working as an independent artist since 2004. Apart from the Disassembly works, Efremidis Gallery is also showing works from the series Commedia della Luce—abstract theatrical characters from light that visualize the spectrum of characters of the Italian commedia dell’ar te of the 16th to 18th century.
Both artists live and work in Berlin.