Solo Exhibition / Artist Talk / Book Launch
»Bath In Brilliant Green«
Opening: Friday, November 18, 2016, 19-21h (Facebook Event)
Introduction at 19:30 by Felix Sattler
Exhibition: November 19, 2016 – January 14, 2017
Book Launch & Artist Talk: Thursday, December 15, 2016, 18h
Opening hours: Tue-Fri 12-18h, Sat 12-16h, and by appointment
Winter break: December 23, 2016 – January 7, 2017
Nina Röder travels through rough vastness and deals with aspects of the unknown, the uncanny and an ambivalent body image. The performative interaction of the human body with the natural surroundings is written into the photographs as an act of occupation. Sometimes it is the body of the artist herself amidst untamed wilderness – naked, delicate, cowering – unsure whether emerging from the landscape or disappearing into it. On the film of body and landscape, Röder’s photographs represent ambiguous states of mind and moods – always perceptible but never tangible. The images of the figures find a formal echo in the deserted landscapes and still lifes.
The open visuality of her work is enhanced by an associative display, dimensions and the viewing height of the photographs vary and bring – depending on the combination – new plots and meanings to light.
Nina Röder (*1983 in Neuendettelsau, Germany, is based in Berlin and Weimar), studied Media Art and Design with focus on photography at the renowned Bauhaus University Weimar, Germany. Since 2012 she is lecturer of photography at the Faculty of Art and Design at Bauhaus-University Weimar.
If anyone had asked me what existence was, I would have answered, in good faith, that it was nothing, simply an empty form which was added to external things without changing anything in their nature. And then all of a sudden, there it was, clear as day: existence had suddenly unveiled itself. It had lost the harmless look of an abstract category: it was the very paste of things, this root was kneaded into existence. Or rather the root, the park gates, the bench, the sparse grass, all that had vanished: the diversity of things, their individuality, were only an appearance, a veneer. This veneer had melted, leaving soft, monstrous masses, all in disorder—naked, in a frightful, obscene nakedness.“
Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea
Antoine Roquentin loses the world because it is too close to him. He can barely bear it, the thick black chestnut root that burrows under the park bench. Also, he is not able to bear the sweating faces of the people he meets in cafes. These things of the everyday world are normally just there. But the root is not simply there: With Roquentin’s disgust, she begins to exist like “kneaded”, diffuse in a sensual overflow of brittle blackness, bulging surface and dark smell.
Disgust is an aesthetic feeling, because disgust brings a difference in the world from self-evident perceptions and creates an ambivalence between being attracted and being pushed off. In Sartre, the disgust is suitable for his literary-philosophical experiment, because he reveals the network of relationships – sensual as well as social – in which people and objects are not simply “there”, but “do exist”.
Two dead animals are lying rigid between bright stones on the forest floor. Moss covers trees and stones with a damp, green fur. An inconspicuous pond swallows a mamorous body. Everywhere bodies, covered with thistles, buds, and seed capsules. One of them has laid himself in the narrow ditch along a meadow. Another one curves over a stream of black stones.
Such images can quickly become too much, too much dark natural romance, too much enigmatic poetry of the organic, too deep and profound. Nina Röder’s photos series “a little deeper than you thought” and “I like the green of your shirt” do not want to go so deep, but only “a little deeper”. These are photographic works along a minimal difference. It is about small shifts and framings. The great strength of Nina Röder’s photographic work lies in the arrangement of objects and the composition of the picture, which can be traced back to her first staged photographs.
Fortunately, her series are not lost in too much depth, but are committed to the surfaces, forms and contingencies, and are as sensuous and organic as they are formalistic and concrete. Of course, there is romance, but never without the skilful break through of the performance and the concept. In any case, it is about forms of feeling, but always in connection with somewhat crazy ideas, such as the hairy man with a fluffy dry growth stuck to his shoulder or to approach the silver thistle with pointed tongue. Things arise, images imagine, form themselves and fit together, seemingly as if from their own strength. There is no deep or dark underneath or darkness. And the photographs are always synonymous, hard rectangular frames, in which aesthetic forces gather – neither difficult to grasp moods nor conceptual thoughts.
“I Like the Green of Your Shirt” – it needs only the green, the quality, no deeper meaning, only a richly shining gum tree leaf, in its entire beauty and slant. The same thing happens with the “humans” or, in fact, one would have to speak of “bodies”, which are nestling to nature quite sensuous, human in the literal sense and yet again act in it like statues or foreign bodies. Nina Röder’s photographs are reminiscent of the performances and installations of the French artist Pierre Huyghe, whose art aims at similarly aesthetic shifts along the difference between nature and art.
Antoine Roquentin, who experiences the world loss quite existentially on his bench in the intoxication of the disgusting abundance, sensitively impelled by a chestnut tree root – this scene is as impressive as laughable. And just like this ambivalent moment of meaning also causes disgust – so terrible and so beautiful, that one must laugh, enjoyably and frightened.
Nina Röder’s photographs take advantage of this unstable moment of meaning and keep the irritated glance of the viewer in motion.