„XXX XXXX XXXXXXX“, Ausstellung zum Ars Lipsiensis (solo show)
Installation in a new building construction (walls: rough concrete); Two metal shafts facing each other, two video projections, Plexiglas, neon tubes

Dies ist die erste Arbeit, in der ich Videobilder in die Installation integrierte.

Ich betrachte dies nicht als Videoinstallation sondern Video war für mich zu diesem Zeitpunkt eine Form von strukturiertem Licht, das ich wie auch andere Lichtquellen in meine Installationen integrierte.


In einem bunkerähnlichem Rohbau installierte ich zwei sich gegenüberstehende Stahlkörper. Beabsichtigt war der Eindruck, dass die möglichen Verlängerungen dieser horizontalen Kanäle in der Raummitte aufeinandergestoßen wären. Sie hätten also einen gemeinsamen, den Raum durchschneidenden Kanal ergeben.

Der nun offene Raum dazwischen erschien somit wie „herausgeschnitten“.

An den Schnittstellen wurden nun die Videoprojektionen sichtbar.


1996, „  “ (englisch), Chris Yetton

veröffentlicht im Buch "Kodierter Raum/Coded Space" 1997

In 1996 Leipzig is a theatre for the approaching millennium. In many places the old, quiet, spacious city is still clearly visible. But it is in bad repair, much of it falling to pieces. In the centre there are many building sites that give the feeling that a new city is being constructed. But alongside these are new buildings already completed, which are empty and functionless and look destined to remain so. The factories and warehouses of the old heavy industry are also empty but decaying. The railway station, once the hub of the extensive transport system of the communist era, now looks too big and sections of it are often shut. The airport feels as though its separate parts are not properly connected. Is Leipzig on the way to becoming a new financial centre, a beacon of the contemporary world or is it stuck in a no-man's-land between the old vanished East Germany and a capitalist dream characterized by fraud and false promises?
In one of the small new high-tech shopping malls, a metal panel missing from the ceiling of its triangular hall revealed that the grilles and shiny metal were simple cladding, put there to give an air of cold modernity to a rather ordinary building. One side of the hall was a featureless glass wall. Black plastic hung behind the glass made this opaque and blank. A key opened a tall door in this wall that went from floor to ceiling and gave access to Till Exit's installation. Inside was a large, dimly lit rectangular room. The walls, floor and ceiling were concrete. One's feet made a harsh crunching sound on the concrete floor, and the slight echo emphasized the largish bunker-like quality of the space.
Two square rectangular shafts made of heavy metal came from the centres of the shorter walls towards each other at eye level and about midway to the ceiling. They felt cold and hard, and their metal was clearly thick and strong. They were absolutely parallel to the floor, unsupported, and their top surfaces remained unseen. The ends of these shafts were half a metre square and directly faced each other. There was a gap of a few metres between them.
These ends were made of sanded plexiglass. An image was projected onto each of these flat screens from inside the shaft. The light from these images lit the space between them, giving it a kind of life in the cold impersonal space of the room.
The images on the screens were half-transparent, spatial and organic. They were slowly recognizable as two male torsos filmed frontally, but lying back away from the camera and in negative. e. Only the stomach of each was really visible, seen from just above the pubic hair and receding almost horizontally towards the breast-bone.
The stomachs moved rhythmically, rising and falling as they breathed. The images were absurdly delicate and sensual, soft and ambiguous. Each stomach trembled as it breathed and often looked like a stretch of water. One of the torsos was fractionally more upright than the other – although both were lying back. This gave the feeling of one approaching or almost hanging over the other, so that, although each was alone and vulnerable, some sense of comfort was passed between them. The effect was very sexual, although there was no erotic imagery – or only the eroticism of the belly.
On the floor, one beneath each screen and parallel to the base edge of each, were two white neon tubes. These tubes were smeared with thick black paint which only permitted their aggressive light to escape intermittently, not allowing it to speak clearly. Their light dimly illuminated the floor between the screens and with the bluish light from those screens filled the space between them with a hovering glow. Circling the concrete bunker one felt constantly enticed into this space but also a little reluctant to enter it, although on doing so one entered the obviously human and optimistic part of the piece. The steel shafts, if continued, would have met exactly, and so it felt that this space was created by cutting them. The feeling of prohibition and invitation was increased by the strong sensation of intimacy in the images. They were sexually related in a way that demanded privacy, but they were also landscapes that consoled and calmed.
Exit's piece was not in a museum or gallery. Its nature as art was not declared by either of those frames. Nor was it in a disused industrial space – which has recently become an extension of gallery space. It is also true that unused shop spaces now often stand in for galleries. But in this work the new empty space, which is presumably to become a shop, is used as one element in the piece itself, not as its frame. Leipzig – or the kind of half-rebuilt contemporary city that is also collapsing – is the context for the piece; London fullfills a parallel function for other pieces. Neither of them however are frames in the sense of that thing which both separates the work from the world and declares it to be art.
This idea of the frame as a physical and metaphorical thing separating a work from the world and declaring it to be art does not exist in this work – neither does it in many contemporary works. Instead of such a frame, we have acts of framing. Each choice of Exit's and its embodiment in the work is such an act.
The choice of video, with its slightly degraded image, is an act of framing which connects the human and the technological. Technology itself is used by Till Exit both as human and anti-human. The images are private in their implied sexual relationship and collective in their general nature. The neon tubes have a cold aggressive light, but the rough black paint makes them body-like, and they appear vulnerable beneath the steel shafts.
All these choices and acts of making, and there are many more such choices and acts in the work, detach these elements from the continuum of the world, where they normally belong, and give them a prominence – which declares them to be, together, a work of art. It is this giving of prominence, which is simultaneously an act of separating them from the world, that performs the same function as the frame of a picture. In this way they are acts of framing within the work which isolate it from the world while at the same time recalling – and somehow standing for – everything that remains outside the work.
In his piece Exit brought together elements of power and vulnerability that endlessly opposed each other and often
seemed to change places. The work was both public and intimate, the experience collective and solitary.

Chris Yetton – London, Autumn 96