26 Janu¬≠ary 2013 ‚Äď 2 March 2013
Bol­te­Lang, Zurich

Colour and the per¬≠cep¬≠ti¬≠on the¬≠reof is a uni¬≠que expe¬≠ri¬≠ence for all of us. When a child is taught what colour the grass is, or the sun, it is given the key to a mutu¬≠al under¬≠stan¬≠ding, which makes up our social para¬≠digm. By sti¬≠mu¬≠la¬≠ting the sen¬≠ses and allo¬≠wing them to com¬≠mu¬≠ni¬≠ca¬≠te in a har¬≠mo¬≠nious and equal man¬≠ner, we can begin to build a basis for expres¬≠sing what seems so obvious, but remains utter¬≠ly vague. At an ear¬≠ly age, we blind¬≠ly agree with what we are told, but then spend adult¬≠hood dis¬≠co¬≠ve¬≠ring our own truths. We are obli¬≠ged to accept some, or find out that others may distort when view¬≠ed from a dif¬≠fe¬≠rent ang¬≠le, but colour is a sub¬≠ject one never seems to doubt. It is exact¬≠ly this dis¬≠crepan¬≠cy, bet¬≠ween what we take for gran¬≠ted and what we actual¬≠ly see (that is: what might as well be true), that fasci¬≠na¬≠tes Dag¬≠mar Hepp¬≠ner and leads her to explo¬≠re the pos¬≠si¬≠bi¬≠li¬≠ties for expe¬≠ri¬≠en¬≠cing and under¬≠stan¬≠ding the social con¬≠s¬≠truct that may be lin¬≠ked to it. What one per¬≠son‚Äô s mind may per¬≠cei¬≠ve as true, can be a fal¬≠si¬≠ty to the other.

For her first solo exhi¬≠bi¬≠ti¬≠on at Bol¬≠te¬≠Lang, Dag¬≠mar Hepp¬≠ner explo¬≠res the¬≠se per¬≠so¬≠nal truths. She invi¬≠tes us to fol¬≠low a site-spe¬≠ci¬≠fic trail of fabric, let¬≠ting the view¬≠er inter¬≠act with an assem¬≠bla¬≠ge of hand-dyed fabrics, sewn tog¬≠e¬≠ther using tech¬≠ni¬≠ques other¬≠wi¬≠se appli¬≠ed for garm¬≠ents and inte¬≠ri¬≠or design/textile deco¬≠ra¬≠ti¬≠on ‚Äď fol¬≠dings remind of skirts and dres¬≠ses, or the shir¬≠ring of curta¬≠ins. Blen¬≠ding seve¬≠ral colours, Hepp¬≠ner crea¬≠tes 12 hues of a dif¬≠fe¬≠rent kind, rela¬≠ted to the colour cir¬≠cle that Ger¬≠trud Gru¬≠now used for her les¬≠sons in ‚ÄúHar¬≠mo¬≠ni¬≠sie¬≠rungs¬≠leh¬≠re‚ÄĚ at the Bau¬≠haus in Wei¬≠mar. The cir¬≠cle is appli¬≠ed to the archi¬≠tec¬≠tu¬≠re of the gal¬≠lery as the colou¬≠red fabric twi¬≠nes around a built-in u‚ÄĎshaped wall, crawls through the office, the cor¬≠ri¬≠dor and the adja¬≠cent win¬≠dow and can never be per¬≠cei¬≠ved in its enti¬≠re¬≠ty. The soft¬≠ness of the tex¬≠ti¬≠le path crea¬≠tes gent¬≠le dis¬≠tur¬≠ban¬≠ces in the space, the way it enve¬≠lo¬≠ps the stark white cube, and almost mimics a sta¬≠ve for the notes of colour to dis¬≠play their song.

Grunow‚Äôs theo¬≠ry is a com¬≠plex mesh of con¬≠vic¬≠tions, beliefs and rela¬≠ti¬≠ons likely to col¬≠lap¬≠se when serious¬≠ly ques¬≠tio¬≠ned and doub¬≠ted. It is a very per¬≠so¬≠nal con¬≠s¬≠truct to under¬≠stand and deal with the world and its oddi¬≠ties. For Hepp¬≠ner, as oppo¬≠sed to Gru¬≠now, it is the subt¬≠le lack of harm¬≠o¬≠ny that allows for the view¬≠er to ‚Äôenter‚Äė a work as this is whe¬≠re the pic¬≠tu¬≠re crum¬≠bles. Being more inte¬≠res¬≠ted in the moments when things do not quite come tog¬≠e¬≠ther or lose their func¬≠tion the artist employs useful stit¬≠ches to unfa¬≠mi¬≠li¬≠ar colours to clo¬≠the a wall, or turns sewing pat¬≠terns into monsters.

For Fic¬≠tion, tex¬≠ti¬≠le is not mere¬≠ly a means to an end, but rather a medi¬≠um that offers Hepp¬≠ner end¬≠less pos¬≠si¬≠bi¬≠li¬≠ties. From the Latin word ‚Äôtexe¬≠re‚Äė, ‚Äôto con¬≠s¬≠truct‚Äė, fabric stands not only at the core of the site-spe¬≠ci¬≠fic work, but is also the basis for the fasci¬≠na¬≠ting dicho¬≠to¬≠my that the use of fabric pres¬≠ents us with ‚Äď the con¬≠stric¬≠tions clot¬≠hing can lay upon us as oppo¬≠sed to the liber¬≠ty one has when working with it. Her inher¬≠ent con¬≠nec¬≠tion with cloth is mere¬≠ly hin¬≠ted at in the two other works in the exhi¬≠bi¬≠ti¬≠on, which show adapt¬≠ed sewing pat¬≠terns for a dress and a ruff¬≠le blou¬≠se. The artist keeps what should be con¬≠ver¬≠ted into the mul¬≠ti-dimen¬≠sio¬≠nal world on a flat sur¬≠face and blurs its infor¬≠ma¬≠ti¬≠on by rear¬≠ran¬≠ging and over¬≠lay¬≠ing the forms. The once clear gui¬≠de¬≠lines for a pie¬≠ce of clot¬≠hing ‚Äď some¬≠thing indi¬≠vi¬≠du¬≠al and per¬≠so¬≠nal ‚Äď trans¬≠form into a geo¬≠me¬≠tri¬≠cal, archi¬≠tec¬≠tu¬≠ral design resembling masks or a crea¬≠tu¬≠re, and ther¬≠eby crea¬≠ting a cer¬≠tain unea¬≠se. The blur¬≠ring of the boun¬≠da¬≠ries of what we should see and what we do see, is uncan¬≠ny and unsett¬≠ling, but allows us to once again ques¬≠ti¬≠on our per¬≠so¬≠nal truths.

The limi­ta­ti­ons of our per­cep­ti­on often hin­der us from see­ing the big­ger pic­tu­re, but they also allow every indi­vi­du­al to have a uni­que expe­ri­ence. Dag­mar Hepp­ner invi­tes us to heigh­ten our sen­ses, to face the unea­se and begin to see the beau­ty in the dis­harm­o­ny of both medi­um and the pre­sen­ta­ti­on thereof.

The musi¬≠ci¬≠an Ger¬≠trud Gru¬≠now (‚ąó1870 in Ber¬≠lin, ‚Ć1944 in Lever¬≠ku¬≠sen) was invi¬≠ted by the Bau¬≠haus mas¬≠ter Johan¬≠nes Itten to teach her cour¬≠se on the Theo¬≠ry of Harm¬≠o¬≠ny at the Staat¬≠li¬≠ches Bau¬≠haus in Wei¬≠mar from 1919 to 1923. Her theo¬≠ry had an holi¬≠stic approach and lin¬≠ked the means of expres¬≠si¬≠on to the indi¬≠vi¬≠du¬≠al per¬≠cep¬≠ti¬≠on of colours, sounds and forms. Exer¬≠ci¬≠s¬≠es aimed to shar¬≠pen the stu¬≠dents‚Äô sen¬≠ses and to crea¬≠te an inner and outer balan¬≠ce, which was unders¬≠tood as pre¬≠con¬≠di¬≠ti¬≠on for the cea¬≠ti¬≠ve pro¬≠cess. A cir¬≠cle con¬≠sis¬≠ting of 12 colours rela¬≠ted to 12 geo¬≠me¬≠tri¬≠cal forms, 12 musi¬≠cal tones and 12 move¬≠ments was a fun¬≠da¬≠men¬≠tal tool in her lessons.

Caro­li­ne Lommaert


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