In the exhibition “Untouched by Echoes”, Bo Bjerggaard Gallery in Copenhagen is presenting two new drawing series by Berlin-based artist Brigitte Waldach, titled “Instinct” and “History Now”, as well as the spatial drawing “Reflex-Love”. “History Now” Wikipedia is the largest Internet encyclopaedia in the world today. One of the Internet’s most frequently accessed websites, it has been in existence for only 13 years. What is relevant and warrants mention in Wikipedia? Who is allowed to post entries? What posts are most disputed in this digital encyclopaedia? Controversy arises particularly when issues such as religion and anti-Semitism are addressed, and it is no wonder that the articles on Adolf Hitler and Jesus Christ are among those that are most frequently rewritten. They are contemporary case studies on the user behaviour of the platform. The frequency of article edits is the point of departure for the drawing series “History Now” which features nine large drawings by Waldach of figures such as Jesus Christ, Adolf Hitler, members of the Red Army Faction (RAF) and Hannah Arendt, along with handwritten texts. The texts are excerpted from the various versions of Wikipedia articles that have been repeatedly rewritten. They are augmented by the artist’s own knowledge of these people, for example through excerpts from personal letters for the RAF members. The result is a three-step process consisting of the historical figure, the controversial discussion surrounding his/her merits or guilt and Waldach’s selection of Wikipedia texts and own additional texts. The text as a motif is equally important as the drawn figure, and divides the visual space of the drawing. “Reflex – Love” Escape and attack are reflexes that have been ingrained in human behaviour for thousands of years, and, as it were, are the most natural way of locomotion. Love and hate, however, have much to do with wishes: with real goals or imagined needs. Voluntary acts are simultaneously determined and authentic. Although theories of consciousness might trace love back to cognitive information processing, the subjective experience is no less complex. The phenomena remain the same, while theories change. Page 1 of 2
Page 2 of 2In the spatial drawing “Reflex – Love” a dialogue between a man and a woman is traced in the truest sense of the word, so they become physically connected in the space. Written on the wall are a woman's words, phrases and comments. From beneath each one of them, a red strand seems to break out of the wall and stretch over to another term. The sometimes fine, sometimes thick lines form a red matrix in the room, a hierarchical system composed of experiences, questions and confessions. In response to the woman's statements, a likewise anonymous man reacts and answers with appropriate words and sentences that are spanned in an intricate web. A surprising, emotional and sometimes stereotypical dialogue becomes apparent. In the shared space, the female behaviour pattern in red stands opposite to its male counterpart in blue. The visitor, reading read from one word to the other, opens up a fictitious dialogue partly derived from well-known quotes from film and literature. Similarities, overlaps and intersections that extend beyond the sexes also remain possible, and are spanned in purple rubber bands. “Instinct – Black Box” Instincts play an important role in human actions. Can we master our instincts, for example through insight or will? The drawing series “Instinct – Black Box” addresses emotions and human behaviour and the occasionally absurd actions and situations to which they give rise. The central idea is a transformation that causes a body of 200 drawings to gradually disappear. We encounter this process of reduction already in the individual works, many of which reveal isolated hands or heads of anonymous protagonists, or faces depicted without eyes or as popular contemporary emoticons. The world and the human becomes stylized, distilled – or returned – to its visual essence. The 200 pictures, drawn in pencil on a white background, are presented on the black walls of one of the exhibition rooms and arranged in several rows, above each other and side-by-side. Gallery visitors can spontaneously purchase one or more of the works and take it home the same day – while the black wall surface remains. The result is a constantly changing impression of the room as a kind of “black box”. In psychology, a “black box” is a model used to describe how the brain processes internal and external stimuli. While the box has an entrance and exit, its inner life remains “dark” and unknown.