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Christian Schwarzwald :

Krems a.d. Donau, 2017
Dr.-Karl-Dorrek-Straße 30, 3500 Krems an der Donau


The installation ZELL (Cell) in the entrance hall of the university of health sciences in Krems consists of roughly 800 painted and drawn aluminum panels (each 24 x 31 centimeters), hanging from the ceiling by steel wires. They form a kind of sphere-shaped swarm and seem to be in motion at first glance – a result of the fact that the panels are bent in different directions. One part consists of panels painted blue in a gestural and minimalist abstract style, while the other part of the panels shows graphic symbols. Standing below the object, we see a vortex of pictorial surfaces and unknown signs, reminding us of hieroglyphs, the countless elements of which together form a unit – similar to a text, a complex code, or a musical score.

The form and theme of the installation evokes associations with the matrix of a cell nucleus. Like a gigantic information storage system, the matrix of a cell nucleus contains all the DNA of an organism. At the same time, this arrangement of color structures and graphic tokens reveals the core of Schwarzwald’s artistic approach: His investigation into the logic and rules of the development of characters and pictures, how they relate to one another, and the formation of individual signs into complex pieces of information. ZELL is an experimental arrangement in which the individual picture panels act like letters or characters. By separating the image from its function as a symbol and thus forming signs that are beyond our language system, Schwarzwald lends images and written language equal weight. At the same time, he tests the limits of readability to explore the construction of written language and symbols. Christian Schwarzwald’s often encyclopedic and serial works are assembled out of many small drawings. He explores written and pictorial language, pictorial symbols, and metaphors with the precision of a surgeon. In his drawings, he explores the world in all its facets, combining microscopic and macroscopic views. In works like ZELL, he also ventures into the realm of the deliberately undefined. It therefore comes as no surprise that overcoming the distance between analytical and associative thought is a major characteristic of Schwarzwald’s artistic oeuvre.
(Text: Cornelia Offergeld, translation: Michelle Miles )