'Air and shadows'
Gerd Brockmann’s work is an action, a doing. Ephemeral and smoke-like, both the artist and the art cannot be contained in any solid category. His work is intertextual in the extreme, transgressing the boundaries of performance, sculpture, photography, painting, sound, light, air: it slips through the gaps of all. The artist considers everything his material, conjuring work out of unstable components to create art that is poetical and productive.
The mental and physical agitation we experience in society encourages Brockmann’s creation of non-tangible art. He enjoys it’s fluidity, the way it mirrors the constant societal flux that proliferates. His performance-sculptures are processes that are bound to him: he makes the work in that moment, and then it vanishes. The photo that captures the piece only contains the second the shutter blinks: the second of a minute of a moment of an action, then, it too, is gone. In this way, at all stages, his work mirrors the fleeting nature of human existence.
Although the methods vary drastically, textiles are Brockmann’s main discipline. He is interested in how fashion is an act of performativity, how materials become a second skin. Our personalities, minds, actions are legible to others immediately through material fibres, not our “real” nakedness. It is this mantling of the body which he explores in his art, as the figure is also often used in his practise. Brockmann warps the traditional implications of the human figure within art. Often concealing the figure entirely with textile, he dismantles fashion with the body, and the body with fashion. The figures are deliberately puck-like, in between, non-gendered, the artist seeking to represent our human, pre-signified essence. Our bodily constructions are all the same underneath our performative mantles. Through making the figure both static-sculptural, and moment-ephemeral he deconstructs the body, representing it as both corporeal being and elemental force.
Brockmann makes photographs physical, sculptures installation, silence visible, and air emotional. He works with and is ephemeral. Beautifully twisting out of definition, like the shadow of a moment of a silence.
'One Moment yellow silence'
One Moment Yellow Silence is a piece that explores the way inner stillness becomes affected by our surroundings. Silence isn’t one thing. It is powerful, serene, joyful, tense, anxious. To Brockmann, it is also Yellow. Yellow because it is a talisman of optimism, of warmth. Loud, it sings its solidity from wherever it is placed. Yellow is often the first colour we notice.
After his father died, Brockmann left Germany for Turkey where he found yellow fabric in a turkish bazaar. It became a kind of phylactery to him and he wrapped himself in it, protecting himself from the world. Whilst to spectators he seemed statuesque and hollow, to the artist, he was internally vibrating in his own scripture of silence.
Brockmann wanted to challenge the levels of transportation he felt within his yellow mantle. The performance moved continually, mainly focusing on locations within Turkey: from a waterfall, to the streets of Istanbul, to a Mosque in Bursa. Listening to the natural sounds of a waterfall allowed him tranquility, whilst the turbulence and motion of Istanbul overwhelmed and heightened his senses. In the Mosque he was a guest. Hearing people praying in another language with his bare feet rooted to the carpet allowed him to feel the vibrations of place. Grounded, bedded into the spiritual reticence.
The art for him is the texture of the silence. Soft or grainy, smooth or disturbed, it changes from place to place. For us, the viewer, the art is the image. We see the contrast of the surroundings that he does not. This duality is married together in a specific type of ephemerality that makes the image intensely dynamic. We see the stillness of the figure, we see the contrast of the surroundings, we also perhaps question what Brockmann himself is experiencing. As an art-object, it too refuses ‘one thing’. Part of experiencing One Moment Yellow Silence, is understanding it as a transformative object. It metamorphoses from installation to sculpture, from sculpture to photograph, from photograph to digital experience, refusing a static understanding. It is a piece that invites a multilayered examination that sometimes becomes physical. People want to touch, to unwrap, to talk, to investigate. It is individual and intangible to every viewer. It is also a message to us in our overloaded world: we cannot stop time, but we can be still within it. The moment we take to ourselves in looking is curious, is silent, is Yellow.
'Golden silver reign'
Golden Silver Reign is an ephemeral sculpture flexibly and spontaneously created in any location Brockmann choses. The sculpture is suspended within the moment the camera shutter closes: the undulating foil-furrows are captured and stilled in an entirely random arrangement, never to be seen again. One instantly recognises the piece as an image of a sculpture, not merely a photograph. It is not until one realises the variety of forms the sculpture takes that Golden Silver Reign is discovered to be ephemeral and textile, not a metal installation. It is the action, the wind, the force that creates the sculpture. Brockmann seeks out the unplanned, the uncontrollable in his work, as he sees everything as potentially creative. The artist understands that often it is the mistakes you make, the aleatory that generates the work, not the control of the artist.
Inspired by Ai Weiwei’s ‘Study of Perspective’ Brockmann strove to create a piece that was transferable and transportable. All he requires is the fire blanket and his camera to create multiple different sculptures, juxtaposed against a melange of backgrounds. He has taken the sculpture to several places in Europe and beyond, but chooses surroundings that are far from the normality of metropolitan life; secluded side-streets, graffiti-addled-buildings, deserted houses, or grey shore-lines, locations that are the most visibly politically affected. Contrary to much of his other work, an absence of the human figure is key, for the piece is allegorical of political ‘reign’ that too is devoid of concerns for individual humanity.
For there are similarities in all the countries he takes the sculpture too. They are all tumbling over to the right sight of the political spectrum. It is something that most of the world is wrestling with, an existence that is almost imperceptibly decided for us. The political world, as Brockmann sees it, is based on opportunism. The way the right wing media spins a story to their advantage, often targeting the most neglected and under-funded areas desperate for change, is nothing to do with truth but is a weaving of a shining narrative. With Golden Silver Reign, Brockmann is commenting on how individuals don’t often choose their politics. Whether it be via parental influence, environment, race, location, pay-bracket, the artist identifies political identity as becoming nestled about you, coating you surreptitiously. Much like the sculpture, it is unbound to the self, a kind of luck. In this visual metaphor, the gold side represents right-wing imposed silence, the silver side figuring liberation. It is perhaps telling, yet of course entirely un-planned, that most of his sculptures show the golden layer facing upwards, imposing it’s heavy regality on the hardship surrounding it.
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