Public space has become one of the central motifs in discussions of contemporary art, culture and society. Its material and symbolic development has created an intense challenge for artistic practice, not because of its potential for exhibition, but because of the complex new questions of representation, persuasion and communication it raises.
This collection illustrates the transformation of the materiality of public space. The images recorded in the mid-1980s appear archaic, as if they originated in far more distant times. The juxtaposition of historical works with new ones highlights one very striking change: the appearance of color. The collection depicts a parallel evolution: Color appears in the urban space, and simultaneously emerges from changes in media technology, where shades of gray were replaced by colors. In one of the works, a world fossilized by a 1985 catastrophe is filmed with a digital camera, emphasizing the archival nature of that reality through the use of new recording techniques.
This set of video works looks at the vast array of signs and symbols found in public space. Some of the works depict the public iconosphere; others barge right into it.
A whole multitude of the signs that make up contemporary iconography appear here: all sorts of logos, trademarks, cultural symbols and signals of various kinds. Signs and symbols play all their assorted roles in these works: They regulate, they persuade, they inform; they also take seemingly neutral functions. Their presence can have multiple layers of meaning; it may go unnoticed or be obnoxiously pushy. One of the works refers to a theory of Wittgenstein’s that applies neatly to the entire collection: “What signs fail to express, their application shows. What signs slur over, their application says clearly.”