Temporal Values (opening)
From Minimal to Video
Fri, December 19, 2003 5 pm CET, Opening
»Although responsive to the same considerations, the temporal values that were built into the minimalist sculpture of the 1960s were primarily engaged with questions of perception. The viewer was therefore involved in a temporal decoding of issues of scale, placement, or shape - issues that are inherently more abstract than, say, the contents of memory. [...] the issues of minimalism are being inserted into a space that, like Rauschenberg’s pictorial field, defines itself as mnemonic.«
Rosalind Krauss, »Video: The Aesthetics of Narcissism«, 1978
Both title and theme of the exhibition refer to this passage by Rosalind Krauss. She describes the time-based sculptural experience of minimal art, its situatedness in space as a material experience, and related issues of perception. These three parameters of minimal art — time, material, perception — have not only expanded the concept of sculpture, they have opened up new horizons for media. The perception strategies of early video works, where the perspective through the camera complemented natural perception, also established a relationship between time, material, and perception for the observer. The development of sculpture from a temporal experience (in minimal art) to the time-based medium of video is the focus of this exhibition, which explores in this way new aesthetic connections between minimal art and media art.

Minimal art redefines the relationship between artwork and observer; the spatial environment replaces the illusionist space of the flat screen. Since the advent of minimal art, the minimalist trend in art can now be detected in various genres. Video art, too, has taken up the phenomenological approach of minimal art. However, video art’s perception via a camera frequently enhances and changes natural perception. Perception processes raise the question of the observer’s position, which is perpetuated in video art because of the technically produced and mediated images. The observer is included in the electronic decoding of temporal structures that also interrogate space as mnemonic space.

The exhibition presents works from the ZKM collection and loans selected to exemplify how sculptural trends of the 1960s relate to the perception strategies employed in early video sculptures. Abstraction and the presentation of phenomena of perception take precedence over a linear narrative.

The works from the ZKM collection shown in the exhibition were nearly all acquired thanks to financial support from private donators from Karlsruhe for the inaugural exhibition of the founding director Heinrich Klotz’s program, ”Museum of All Genres.” Painting, sculpture, and photography, video and media installations, moving and nonmoving images, are presented here side-by-side. This exhibition concept reflects the fact that new media, such as video or computer-based art, have also developed from conceptual ideas of their precursor media, painting and sculpture. Six years after the ZKM opened its doors, this public exhibition in the Städtische Galerie offers the opportunity to see a representative selection from the ZKM collection in a novel thematic context.