Axel Vervoordt Gallery is pleased to announce the exhibition, Space and Time Odyssey, a solo show by Otto Boll. The exhibition features large-scale sculptures, site-specific works, a selection of the artist’s Flute Drawings from 1975-76, and a projection of experimental, 8-milimeter videos shot between 1978 and 1980.
The industrial architecture of the Escher Gallery – with its vast circular openings through the first floor –
inspired the artist to explore the space’s full potential. Boll’s sculptural installations expand the viewer’s
perception of space, while utilizing a minimum amount of materiality. Suspended from the first floor, the
spiraling sculptures demand attention and perspective from above and below.
Boll sharpens the tips of very thin steel stakes in such a way that they seem to vanish in thin air. He creates drawings in space. Whether they are small enough to stand on a table, or on such a scale they fill the whole room, Boll’s artworks maintain this intriguing effect where a three-dimensional object becomes a line. Either standing on their own or invisibly hung so that they hover in the air, the works are impressive in their
simplicity. It’s important for the artist that his work can be personally experienced in close proximity, inviting the viewer to examine the installation up close. By adjusting the physical point of view, the sculptures shape
changes as well. In the artist’s words:
“Sculpture demands our presence, especially in times when the ‘media’ pushes themselves into the foreground,
pretending to be ‘immediate’. This leads to diminished intimacy.”
This dimension of perception is pivotal for the artist. Boll finds it important to challenge how we see the world around us, and how this vision is ultimately limited. Can we trust what we see? Is what we see
trustworthy? How do we interpret what our eyes capture? For Boll, in order to achieve new visions and ideas, we have to let go of what we have already seen or experienced previously. He creates his sculptures out of the hope to find “the visible not yet visible”.
The Flute Drawings from 1975-76 appear like sketches of geometric architecture with a large contrast between light and dark. There are openings through which light falls and exposes various shapes. Thanks to the title, however, we recognise that these are sketches of enlarged pieces of a flute. With these drawings, Boll zoomed in on a specific part of the instrument from the inside out. This takes the viewer to an unexpected angle of the object, making what we see basically unrecognisable. By taking us to the world inside of the flute, Boll already shows his interest in the principles of perception and the position of the audience with this early work.
Boll’s works lean on optical mobility. They play tricks with the senses and the cognition of the audience, which points at the potential of observation. Boll shows us how observation can cause changes in understanding, and conversely, how understanding can cause changes in what we see or think we see. The evolution of
perception does not solely lie in the material itself. It’s a process that evolves purely in the consciousness of the beholder. Boll’s sculptures as well as the flute drawings illustrate this. Once the viewer notices that the perspective arises from inside the instrument, it becomes possible to see what previously were regarded as “rooms” completely differently. Once the viewer realises the floating lines are, in fact, sculptures, then one can experience them to their full potential. By encountering Boll’s artworks, the influence of behaviour and knowledge on perception is undoubtedly present.