Maelström is a dynamic object. It shows a drawing process in a liquid medium. On closer inspection it is a sculptural process using tiny particles of a granular material that accumulate temporarily to form clusters and lines. But just moments before shapes become evident, they are overwritten or fall apart and disappear. They vaporize. And although Maelström is very material, it travels between two realms: between what is there and what is not there.
How do we perceive and shape the world in our minds? How does our imagination transform it? How does that feed-back on the world around us? What is the relation between matter and imagination and how are they entangled with each other? And why do things – and for them also materials – become increasingly malleable and fluid?
After a considerable contribution to epistemology, Gaston Bachelard, a French philosopher, shifted his interest from science to the psychology of imagination. He contrasted rational thought with the imaginary. Thereby he did not discuss so much how the structures of poetic images look like but rather pointed out that these images can move and transform. They are liquid. And they are attached to matter – the four elements in his case. In Bachelard’s description of the most important travel of human beings, namely the one between the real and the imaginary, he states that when art takes us to this travel, it is not about the stay in one of the two realms. But instead the journey, the movement, the border crossing and the mutual exchange is what we should pay attention to. The dark line in Maelström is the vehicle of this travel and the border at the same time. It doesn’t show us one of the two realms. It shows us the process of trying to make sense, its materiality, its movement, its buildup, decay, turbulences, and fluidity.
Maelström, the installation, is inspired by Edgar Allen Poes short story “A descent into the Maelström”. A book about the work will be published in spring 2012.
Roman Kirschner (* 1975 Vienna) works as an artist in the fields of visual and media art. He has studied philosophy, art history and audiovisual art in Vienna and Cologne. For his basic research Roman is currently working on a Phd on „Processes of material transformation. Metamorphosis in art practice?“ at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne and carries out the research project “Liquid Things” at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. His work has been exhibited internationally in eg. Tokyo Museum of Photography (JP), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts San Francisco (USA), Woodstreet Galleries Pittsburgh (USA), Itaú Cultural Sao Paulo (BR), V2 (NL), Cornerhouse Manchester (UK), Lunds Konsthall (SWE), Akademie der Künste Berlin (DE), Kunsthalle und Künstlerhaus Wien (AT), Arko Art Center Seoul (ROK).