Das Gleitende -2 is the latest installment in a series of three exhibitions that address the destabilizing effects of Modernity. In this new body of work presented by Galerie Nicolas Robert, Carl Trahan explores the spiritual crisis that occurred in the 19th century in the West following the disruptions of the Enlightenment, the advent of Protestantism, and the aftermaths of the French, Industrial and Bourgeois revolutions. Using texts by Goethe and the Romantic poets as a stimulus, Trahan employs a combination of drawing, print and sculpture to convey the erosion of the sacred and the sense of emptiness that took hold of the modern world and evolved into anxiety over the specters of decadence and chaos. But humans, endowed with the fundamental need to believe that their existence has a supra-individual meaning, will always try to impose order on the world that they have built.
Carl Trahan found early inspiration for the trilogy Das Gleitende in the book All That is Solid Melts Into Air—The Experience of Modernity (1967), by American philosopher Marshall Berman. The first part of Carl Trahan’s trilogy took the form of an exhibition based on J. W. Von Goethe's Faust (1808 and 1832) and was presented by Musée d’art Contemporain des Laurentides (MAC LAU) in 2017. In this initial exploration, the artist selected themes from the German literary classic such as personal, social and economic development, as well as the modern individual’s need for perpetual action and transformation. He also explored Mephistopheles' warning regarding the destructive aspect of all creation, addressed to Faust before they entered into a pact that was sealed with Faust's blood. The third and last exhibition of Carl Trahan’s Das Gleitende series will be presented at MAC LAU in February 2019.