Between the dots of light
CRITIC’S PICKS FOR VIENNA ART WEEK
“Valentina Triet. Pattern As A Teacher” on view at Felix Gaudlitz
The light lures us into the back room. Two beamers incessantly cast single images onto opposite walls. The artist Valentina Triet, who works in Vienna and Zurich, fills the darkened gallery space with rudimentary brightness. Streetlights, car taillights, and lampshades reduce a vibrant urban architecture to an anonymous pattern. It rolls, it flashes, it beats. The solo exhibition at Felix Gaudlitz continues Triet’s ongoing exploration of architecture, orientation, and production. She often showed it as cross-media sculptural arrangements. Here, however, two looping video projections take center stage: In the work “01/01: (Pattern as a Teacher),” dancing luminous bodies gather along invisible lines. Sometimes they form a crowded swarm, then again they stand alone. Only punti in aria – stitches in t air, as the exhibition text puts it – remain in the darkness. A sense of emptiness washes over the dots, but these gaps are deliberate. Despite omissions, the flood of images condenses, going on and on, pounding down on the viewers.
Fabric structures counter the urban landscape of dots. The light beam of the second video – “02/01: (Pattern as a Teacher)” – blends into the nocturnal scenery. Within seconds, simple weaving braids, lace borders and drawings of crochet stitches transform themselves as rhythmised photograms into branches, chains and finally into an orderly grid. By directly placing an object onto the exposure surface, a photogram is the result of the interplay of contour, distance, and light. In “Pattern as a Teacher,” this imaging technique leaves behind a multitude of absent presences comprising mostly private textiles. Is it curtains that obscure the view through a window as an interface to the outside space? Is it the hem of a dress in the evening breeze? Or are they chains cutting into flesh, binding to entrenched patterns of behaviour?
Contemplating the two videos, the outlines of a corporeal mass emerge. There are folds, stretches, bulges, steps forward and then back again. Like in X-ray images, fractures become visible to the trained eye. By leaving out the connecting, accustomed ground, Triet creates space for an individual, imaginary body. Its perception, however, does not present itself right away and is at risk of vanishing too quickly. Those who want to decode every single projected image get lost in details and also search unsuccessfully for the not further described meaning of the four yellow wall works placed in the gallery’s entrance. This soothing excursion into darkness nourishes itself by the space in between – by the things that one does not see or only thinks one sees; by an implied uncertainty that continues buzzing on the retina as a point cloud in the glaring sunlight after leaving the gallery.