In their jointly curated
exhibition “Return to Space” the Hamburg Kunsthalle and
Siemens Arts Program shed light on diverse positions on the theme
of outer space in the world of
A rediscovery and reevaluation of the theme of outer
space began in the 1990s, when artists simultaneously alluded to and
distanced themselves from their historical predecessors, who had been
active in the 1950s and ’60s. From the Soviet launch of the
Thomas Ruff’s “Sterne” (“Stars”) series (1989–92) defines one such pragmatic position. Ruff’s large color prints make use of high-quality original negatives from the archives of the European Southern Observatory (ESO).
Jane & Louise Wilson take a comparably pragmatic approach in their monumental work “Dreamtime” (2001). These two artists are more interested in the “earthly architecture” of space flight than in its existence in outer space. The real-time and slow-motion images of “Dreamtime” document the preparation and implementation of an actual rocket launch at Baikonur Cosmodrome in southern Kazakhstan.
In works created since the 1990s, one can also observe that certain artists occupy a plane of aloofness which interposes itself between the theme and the artwork because the uninterruptedly utopian route of the 1960s is no longer viable today. They distance themselves by alluding to older forms of artistic encounter or by taking the theme of outer space with a pinch of salt.
Humor provides the primary appeal in Sylvie
Fleury’s “Baum mit Augen” (“Tree
with Eyes”) (2005), which is flanked by Martians. An amusing
element likewise enlivens Björn An amusing element likewise enlivens
Björn Dahlem’s “Schwarzes Loch” (“Black
Hole”) (2005), which occupies the atrium of the Galerie der
Gegenwart. Assembled from long wooden laths, Dahlem’s “Schwarzes
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