chronological | Artists |

Olaf Metzel

Sprachgitter

October 4, 2009 January 17, 2010
details as you will find, for instance, in the three-dimensional ceiling ornamentation of the Lion Court inside the Alhambra in Granada. Judaism, Christianity, Islam. Extruded Magen David, airy, floating references to branch and ramification of the religious realm in (peaceful?) intercourse beneath the ceiling, and yet you hardly dare enter the space below it. Here, as in previous works by Metzel, you will find optical airiness and actual gravity of the material in a precarious balance that emanates a vaguely menacing air.

The title of the work, Sprachgitter, refers to a poem and an eponymous volume of poetry by Paul Clean, published in 1959. Always recurring motifs of the cycle are voice, vision, and silence.

(If I were like you. You would be like me.
Did we not stand
below a trade wind?
We are strangers.)1

Language, generally speaking, serves the purpose of communicating information between subjects A and B. If A and B belong to different nations or cultural background, the situation becomes trickier. Even if A and B have a common language between them it is far from clear, no, never clear, whether B knows for sure that A may have signified with what he said, and vice versa. Words leave your mouth as cumbersome affairs – memorised phonetic sequences for all – each of them pre-used and unsuitable, connecting and binding within a given boundary – home of the native tongue. You can guess a soul by its sense of light, Celan wrote. How many people would pass the Turing Test?² Language limits the real of silence, just like the black of letters limits the white of the page. I gaze up at Metzel’s work. A do not assume the presence of someone opposite. Iconic star pricks and cross ornaments weighing tons surround an absence, circumscribe und surround the unspeakable or that where language fails, an inversion of the grid structure of signs.

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Diashow (3 Pictures)

Installation View

Olaf Metzel, Sprachgitter, Photo: Fritz Barth

Olaf Metzel,Sprachgitter , Photo: Fritz Barth

Olaf Metzel,Sprachgitter