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Thomas Eller Main Profile Image

Thomas Eller

Thomas Eller

Beijing, China

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Conceptual art, Installation, Performance, Photography, Video • Born in Coburg, Germany • Studied at Berlin, Germany
 6

THE quantum self

Double Agent
by Nicolas de Oliveira and Nicola Oxley
‘ In the beginning there is ruin. Ruin is that which happens to the image from the moment
of the first gaze. Ruin is the self-portrait, this face looked at in the face as the memory of
itself, what remains or returns as a specter from the moment one first looks at oneself and
a figuration is eclipsed. The figure, the face, then sees its visibility being...

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Double Agent
by Nicolas de Oliveira and Nicola Oxley
‘ In the beginning there is ruin. Ruin is that which happens to the image from the moment
of the first gaze. Ruin is the self-portrait, this face looked at in the face as the memory of
itself, what remains or returns as a specter from the moment one first looks at oneself and
a figuration is eclipsed. The figure, the face, then sees its visibility being eaten away; it
loses its integrity without disintegrating.’1
The 21st Century posits a crisis of visuality. We are no longer bound by the certainties of
Cartesian Perspectivalism that once chimed with a philosophical position, a 'Weltbild'
that transformed the world into a measurable entity. Modernism completed the removal
of the fiction of the single and immobile eye of perspective, along with its all-seeing,
controlling view. Terms like multiplicity and simultaneity have inveigled themselves into
our perceptual field, leading to an apprehension of the world as essentially fractured and
discontinuous. But in doing so, the certainties of who and where we are have been
eroded, whilst our reluctant belief in surface technologies has led to a concomitant loss of
the authentic. These technologies privilege surface and velocity, requiring a radical reevaluation
of vision as a locus or conduit of verifiable truth.
Thomas Eller's work shows a calculated awareness of this need to review our relationship
with perception, through a confrontation between the viewer, the process of reception and
the image. Rather than seeing this relationship as an unambiguous one, the artist
deliberately destabilizes the picture. Indeed, acceleration, one of the key aspects of
present culture(s) features strongly in his work and is often linked with its opposite,
stasis; the philosopher Paul Virilio asks us '...to consider movement and acceleration not
as displacement but rather as emplacement, an emplacement without any precise place,
without geometric or geographic localisation...'2. The concurrence of speed and stasis
should not, however, be understood as a return to Albertian principles, instead proposing
a renewal of Martin Heidegger's 'aletheic gaze', a way of looking at the world that is
open-ended and circumspect.
'THE white male', a complex installation comprising images of warfare brings together
these elements of speed and stasis. Jet-fighters, missiles, tanks and other military
hardware appear as manipulated photographic cutouts mounted on aluminium, frozen as
if in mid-acceleration. The images appear to hurtle towards the viewer and are supported
by metal rods held in place by a large photographic back panel depicting a desert
landscape. The work cannot be taken in fully from a single viewpoint, and requires the
spectator to alter his/her position to decode anamorphic elements and to scrutinize the
shifting relationships between discrete components. The sole static elements of the
installation appear in the mid-ground, peering through the plethora of weapons: a number
of white-clad figures of the artist, photographed from above. These figures rotate the
vanishing point from the horizontal to the vertical.
1 Jacques Derrida, Memoirs of the Blind, University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London, 1993,p.68
2 Paul Virilio,p.48
Similar self-portraits of the artist have appeared in a variety of guises throughout his
work, their scale shifting drastically from the minute, to the life-size, and to the
monumental. Scale alters the physical vantage point of the spectator, and, additionally,
makes a demand for empathetic mirroring. Here the viewer can only comprehend the
work through altering his/her own scale to reflect that of the figure. Moreover, reduction
and increase in scale draw out the discrepancy of size between viewer and subject; it
follows that, to surmount this inequality, the viewer must radically alter his/her own
perception and position. It is arguable that such a fluid viewing process begs fundamental
questions regarding the nature of the unique, and, in so doing changes both spectator and
artwork.
The theorist Hillel Schwartz’s comment sheds light on the twin-edged nature of the
original:
'We admire the unique, then we reproduce it: faithfully, fatuously, faithlessly,
fortuitously. Who and which and where may be the real McCoy, those are uneasy
questions. With fancy footwork we may fight rearguard actions to hold the natural at
arm's length from the artificial and keep the one-of-a-kind out of the clinch of the
facsimile, but the world we inhabit is close with multiples.'3
Eller’s figures address this desire for uniqueness, whilst simultaneously being resigned to
its impossibility. He asserts the power of the image and erodes its original source in a
single statement. The loss of the image’s traceable ancestry sets it free; the self is no
longer about identity, if identity is understood as ‘the same’. Eller has argued, through his
alter ego, Sam Rose that the self has no image and no speech, and that it cannot be
communicated, save through a relationship with the ‘other’. If the self is not the ‘I’, then
any image chosen to represent it must function in the manner of a ‘placeholder’; it posits
a presence that, according to the French philosopher Jean-Francois Lyotard, is
‘unpresentable’. Here, radically altered in it’s meaning, the self is reduced to a picture
that floats without destination. And once the self becomes thus divided, it replicates into
copies without end.
The sober 'double-agents' sent out by the artist to populate art galleries and public spaces
worldwide appear in conservative dark suits, Usually, the monochrome figures appear to
strike no defined pose, they simply stand in front of, or walk towards, the viewer. Yet,
this formal attire, a businessman’s or undertaker’s suit (signifying trust and authority) has
given way to a more informal dress code of jeans and T-shirt; sometimes the clothing
becomes entirely indistinct, to the point of blending in with particular surroundings.
Perhaps these changes may be understood as a relaxation of the strictures, the figures
acting as decoys that adapt to the temporal, geographic, or social circumstances, and
sometimes a suit will not do.
But there is another kind of agent: one who appears stretched, distorted and quite naked.
The work ‘….’ shows an arrangement of naked doubles, each posed differently. As the
audience searches for the correct position from which to view the anamorphic effect, we
become aware of the potential intimacy of each image: we are uncomfortably confronted
by explicit images that foreground the figures’ splayed buttocks and exposed genitals.
The stretched and distorted nature of the images is suggestive of suffering, of the body in
extremis. By conflating distress with eroticism, the figures’ sexual charge is removed,
together with their ability to perform. Eller presents the sexuality of the body as a
3 Hillel Schwartz, The Culture of the Copy, Zone Books, New York, 1996, p.16
conduit, a communication with the viewer, only to withdraw it once more. The
suggestion of suffering makes us recoil from the very intimacy we are promised. Instead,
the sexuality remains internalized, resulting in autoerotic images; the spectator is invited
to view but refrains from stepping into the picture.
The artist has argued that pictorial tradition from the Renaissance to the present has relied
on a simple, monocular form of perspective that places the viewer inside the image. Eller,
contrariwise, wishes to extend the distance between beholder and object, to quite literally
eject him/her from the image. In an age of virtuality, immersion and participation, Eller
underscores the need for the unthinkable: to withdraw art’s pictorial inclusion of the
audience. In this way, to be outside the picture means to be before it, suggesting a
renewed confrontation with multiple viewpoints, a kind of perpetual frontality that
reconfigures itself with every lateral step we take.
The picture, writes the art historian W.J.T.Mitchell ‘is treated as something that must
awaken desire or even awareness that it is being beheld, as if the beholder were a voyeur
at a keyhole.’ 4 Eller’s works show the lengths to which the artist goes to identify us as
viewers, engaged in the voyeuristic relationship described by Mitchell; here, Eller
underlines the scale of the gap between the 'here' of the viewer, and the 'there' of the
artwork.
If sexuality invites spatial separation through voyeurism, a visual involvement, it also
gives rise to other forms of participation, namely through language: it is arguable that the
lack of socialising rituals often lead us to speak openly about sex as a means of
communicating something about ourselves. The theorist Sylvere Lotringer maintains that
'Sexuality no longer expresses any truth; it is simply the presentation of self in everyday
life.' 5 Intimacy is thus transformed from a secret to a 'social secretion'. In this way the
circulation of sexual signs might succeed in satiating sexuality. Eller's images thus
propose a kind of voyeurism that looks not for authenticity, but precisely for the signs
that pass for the real, ‘it is what's left to be desired when desire amounts to nothing.' 6
The focus remains with the body in the work 'THE uebermensch', a series of
superimposed cutouts of hands brandishing knives and disemboweled corpses. Here, the
body is violently cut open, its entrails pulled from the cavity and put on display for public
scrutiny. The perpetrator of the action is only visible through the hand holding the knife.
Given the circular nature of Eller's work, it is assumed that the hand and the body, though
taking the opposing positions of perpetrator and victim, both belong to the artist. The
body of the artist is thus sliced open by his 'other', resulting from a nightmarish splitting
of the individual. The opposite might be argued in the work ‘The bounty – apparition’, a
montage of images depicting self-harming, where the right hand, holding a razor-blade
appears to be cutting into the wrist of the left hand. Here, the violent action is not
undertaken by a foreign body, but by pitting the individual against himself.
This aestheticisation of suffering presents a recurring theme in art, from Hans Holbein’s
‘Dead Christ’ to Jacques Louis David’s ‘The Death of Marat’. The sharp focus on the
lifeless body serves to concretise narrative, whilst underlining the subject’s emotional
tension. Eller's bodies, on the other hand, do not make a play for the viewer's emotions.
4 W.J.T.Mitchell, What do Pictures Want: the Lives and Loves of Images, University of Chicago Press,
Chicago and London, 2005, p.44
5 Sylvere Lotringer, Over Exposed:Perverting Perversions, Semiotext(e), New York, 2007, p.207
6 Ibid, Lotringer p.213
There is little for the audience to identify with, as the figures are truncated, headless, or
appear only in detail. The body then becomes a means for the presentation of its blood,
flesh and internal organs, spilled or laid bare, perhaps, by way of some gruesome murder
or unnamed sacrifice. These images do not mourn the unidentified body, though we
recoil at the violence done to it; no melancholia induced by loss is intended, the slain
body produces nothing but meat and entrails, a final image of abjection.
Eller uses radical shifts in scale, distortion, and blurring in many of his works. This is
especially the case in his depictions of inanimate matter, a range of material traditionally
found in the still-life genre, and, latterly, in advertising. These photographic cutouts
remain distinct in what they show us: arrangements of fruit, potatoes, fish, oysters, cans,
bottles, knives and guns. The iconic nature of the images appears to point towards
mimesis; indeed, we accept the images for what they purport to show: images of things
that exist and that are familiar to us. Eller suggests, however, that digital image
processing has removed the need for real subjects; what we are left with is a pure surface
that can be manipulated at will. These techniques are often used in advertising to present
images and objects that have been ‘supersized’, and boldly coloured; such methods turn
the viewer into a consumer, replacing choice with desire. Indeed, these methods of
regressing the viewer into an infantile state ruled by boundless desire can be said to
underpin the industry of advertising. Eller’s objects borrow from these strategies, both to
entice and seduce, but also to expose the manipulative and mendacious nature of surface.
The digital treatment imbues the works with a beguiling, almost visceral quality. They
excite our vision exactly because their hyperreality separates them from physical
experience. We want to touch them though they would likely elude our grasp as they are
either to fast or too slippery. This desire to handle them occurs despite our knowledge
that the objects have no substance. In this way, Eller emulates the position of the
‘product’, a thing that trades on its appearance and lacks in substance, in short: a means
of perpetuating desire.
The work 'THE projectile (NTSB)' presents an arrangement of anamorphically distorted
sharp instruments blacklisted from being carried onto flights. These objects, chiefly
knives, scissors and screwdrivers, are classified as potentially dangerous, all the more so,
as Eller’s distorted representations are elongated to the point of tearing or shattering. The
more brittle the feared object, the greater our anxiety of its splintering becomes, each
shard transforming itself into a smaller, less traceable, weapon As streamlined acrylic
photographs they pose no actual danger, but as images that draw blood they remain
threatening.
In these works sections of images are pin-sharp, while others are deliberately rendered
out of focus, as if accelerating towards or away from the spectator. This phenomenon
reminds us of the filmic image that relies on passing still frames at a certain rate before
the viewer's eyes. However, Eller's pictures are not animated, and they do not result in a
moving sequence. Instead, they appear as accretions of time and movement, frozen into
single still images. They differ from photographs where the subject moves unexpectedly
as the shutter clicks, resulting in entirely blurred or unfocused images. The simultaneity
of sharpness (stillness) and lack of focus (movement) succeed in unsettling these images
since the viewer craves the clarity of one or another, rather than both states at once. It is
remarkable, however, that the human eye quickly accommodates what appear to be such
contradictory states of rest and motion. Paul Virilio argues that '...now reduction is
rejected, for the simultaneous collective response acts as a ubiquitous eye that sees
everything at once.' 7 In this way, different object-states and views become permissible,
and indeed desirable within single images.
These works refers precisely to scopic desire, a point at which the eye's longing for
mastery over what is surveyed is overtaken by a surfeit of imagery it cannot take in, let
alone digest and classify. If desire is to be maintained, the object itself is of limited
importance and may be substituted for another; therefore, it is the nature of its
representation that lends itself to interchangeability and multiplication. Representation
actually favours endless repetition, as suggested by the simulacrum, which, though
matching in appearance, has cut all ties from the original.
The art historian Norman Bryson thus proposes that such images have no actual match in
reality and are uniquely destined for the gaze. ‘Still life’s potential for isolating a purely
aesthetic space is undoubtedly one of the factors which made the genre so central in the
development of Modernism...it aims to remove itself from function altogether.’8 It is the
switch from a real event to an aesthetic frame that activates the representational mode.
It is then arguable that advertising utilizes techniques provided by the still-life. The
creation of aestheticised spaces and objects points towards the complete loss of actual
function, a means of relating the world to experience. Moreover, by selecting a limited
number of goods for a display, an abundance of goods not seen in the picture is proposed,
inferring an aesthetics of plenty. The dialectical ‘turn’ multiplies each single image,
making it stand in for everything that is absent. In other words, what is in the image is
tangible, though the sense of plenty suggested via the image, articulated through its
denotative function, points towards a surplus that exists elsewhere.
Similarly, ‘The mosaic’ a vast mural of anamorphic flowers made from ceramic tiles,
deliberately lacks context. The distorted flowers reveal themselves only after careful
identification of the correct oblique viewpoint, an exercise that needs to be repeated with
each subsequent botanic specimen. Once more, Eller involves the audience in a formal
game; what is at stake is not a natural object, but its lacking link to palpable experience.
Eller’s critical still life tableaux are indeed neither still, nor alive, or, more precisely,
about life. Nothing is depicted which can be said to exist; Eller’s efforts at representing
the world, mourn the loss of the real, which has been replaced by design, where ‘nature’
is replaced by ‘cogiture’, the ability to think and devise our entire surroundings. It is no
longer the case that our image of the world is fragmented, or shattered even, but that it
has been traded for a surface, a mirage. We hold fast to this image in the absence of
something that has been lost. The world remains present, but we are unable to see it.
Therein lies the crisis of visuality. To see, today, signifies to be blind.
Thomas Eller offers a critique of ‘bad faith’ and asks that none of his visual propositions
be taken at face value. Indeed, though his surfaces are honed to perfection, he asks us to
dismiss their seduction entirely. We are told ‘that there is nothing here to see’: no selfportraits,
no flowers and no potatoes. The conjurer’s vanishing act initiates our escape
from the very tyranny of vision that blinds us, since to understand is to dispense with
sight.
7 Paul Virilio, The Lost Dimension, Semiotext(e), New York, 1991, p.70
8 Norman Bryson, Looking at the Overlooked, Reaktion Books, London, 1990 p.81

„Painting the Berlin Wall Gray“ Thomas Eller, 1986 This book is presenting a project I did as a young art student at the age of 22 in December 1986 shortly before my forced dismission from art school in Berlin. On December 15, 1986 I entered the visa issuing office of the GDR in Berlin Kreuzberg at the Waterloo Ufer 5-7. There I was trying to obtain information on who to talk to in East-Berlin to get “permission” for my project to paint the Berlin Wall gray in Kreuzberg just behind Künstlerhaus Bethanien where it was the most colorfully painted by artists. The 1980s were the pivotal moment for the peace movement in Germany, when NATO strategy had just shifted from “Mutual Assured Destruction”, which served as an effective deterrent to any kind of nuclear war between the two super-powers, to “Flexible Response”, which included scenarios of limited nuclear warfare with a new generation of nuclear warheads. A likely territory was Germany. This book documents the project and the resulting Stasi-file (documents collected by the secret service of the GDR) with photographs and documents. I never obtained any official permission. Inasfar this project really is a document of failed communication in the political realm between an artist and a government. However on a symbolical level it realized an artistic aspiration to reach into societal realities. By the mid-80s there were many artists in Berlin that developed a frontier city magic of images of which the Berlin Wall was an integral part. Everyone had gotten used to the Wall and artists´ efforts were not directed towards tearing down the wall, but to establish themselves in the legacy of Westberlin. I took this for bigottry and cynicism. The goal of the project “Painting the Berlin Wall Gray” was to again bring to attention the scandal that was the Berlin Wall. To engage the administration of the GDR was in same parts naive, as it seemed necessary for the sincerety of the project. At that time I was not aware of Joseph Beuys´ proposal in 1964 (my birthyear) to raise the height of the Berlin Wall by 4 cm for “esthetical reasons”. What I shared with him however, was the motive of the project to make visible the scandalon of the Berlin Wall in the western part of the city. Only if that was achieved, so my thinking at the time, one would ever have the chance to seriously set this issue on the agenda again. The book will contain three texts: - introduction - text about historical circumstances (NATO double track decision, Easter Demonstrations, April 1986 - nuclear melt-down in Chernobyl - text about the art project

„Painting the Berlin Wall Gray“ Thomas Eller, 1986 This book is presenting a project I did as a young art student at the age of 22 in December 1986 shortly before my forced dismission from art school in Berlin. On December 15, 1986 I entered the visa issuing office of the GDR in Berlin Kreuzberg at the Waterloo Ufer 5-7. There I was trying to obtain information on who to talk to in East-Berlin to get “permission” for my project to paint the Berlin Wall gray in Kreuzberg just behind Künstlerhaus Bethanien where it was the most colorfully painted by artists. The 1980s were the pivotal moment for the peace movement in Germany, when NATO strategy had just shifted from “Mutual Assured Destruction”, which served as an effective deterrent to any kind of nuclear war between the two super-powers, to “Flexible Response”, which included scenarios of limited nuclear warfare with a new generation of nuclear warheads. A likely territory was Germany. This book documents the project and the resulting Stasi-file (documents collected by the secret service of the GDR) with photographs and documents. I never obtained any official permission. Inasfar this project really is a document of failed communication in the political realm between an artist and a government. However on a symbolical level it realized an artistic aspiration to reach into societal realities. By the mid-80s there were many artists in Berlin that developed a frontier city magic of images of which the Berlin Wall was an integral part. Everyone had gotten used to the Wall and artists´ efforts were not directed towards tearing down the wall, but to establish themselves in the legacy of Westberlin. I took this for bigottry and cynicism. The goal of the project “Painting the Berlin Wall Gray” was to again bring to attention the scandal that was the Berlin Wall. To engage the administration of the GDR was in same parts naive, as it seemed necessary for the sincerety of the project. At that time I was not aware of Joseph Beuys´ proposal in 1964 (my birthyear) to raise the height of the Berlin Wall by 4 cm for “esthetical reasons”. What I shared with him however, was the motive of the project to make visible the scandalon of the Berlin Wall in the western part of the city. Only if that was achieved, so my thinking at the time, one would ever have the chance to seriously set this issue on the agenda again. The book will contain three texts: - introduction - text about historical circumstances (NATO double track decision, Easter Demonstrations, April 1986 - nuclear melt-down in Chernobyl - text about the art project

„Painting the Berlin Wall Gray“ Thomas Eller, 1986 This book is presenting a project I did as a young art student at the age of 22 in December 1986 shortly before my forced dismission from art school in Berlin. On December 15, 1986 I entered the visa issuing office of the GDR in Berlin Kreuzberg at the Waterloo Ufer 5-7. There I was trying to obtain information on who to talk to in East-Berlin to get “permission” for my project to paint the Berlin Wall gray in Kreuzberg just behind Künstlerhaus Bethanien where it was the most colorfully painted by artists. The 1980s were the pivotal moment for the peace movement in Germany, when NATO strategy had just shifted from “Mutual Assured Destruction”, which served as an effective deterrent to any kind of nuclear war between the two super-powers, to “Flexible Response”, which included scenarios of limited nuclear warfare with a new generation of nuclear warheads. A likely territory was Germany. This book documents the project and the resulting Stasi-file (documents collected by the secret service of the GDR) with photographs and documents. I never obtained any official permission. Inasfar this project really is a document of failed communication in the political realm between an artist and a government. However on a symbolical level it realized an artistic aspiration to reach into societal realities. By the mid-80s there were many artists in Berlin that developed a frontier city magic of images of which the Berlin Wall was an integral part. Everyone had gotten used to the Wall and artists´ efforts were not directed towards tearing down the wall, but to establish themselves in the legacy of Westberlin. I took this for bigottry and cynicism. The goal of the project “Painting the Berlin Wall Gray” was to again bring to attention the scandal that was the Berlin Wall. To engage the administration of the GDR was in same parts naive, as it seemed necessary for the sincerety of the project. At that time I was not aware of Joseph Beuys´ proposal in 1964 (my birthyear) to raise the height of the Berlin Wall by 4 cm for “esthetical reasons”. What I shared with him however, was the motive of the project to make visible the scandalon of the Berlin Wall in the western part of the city. Only if that was achieved, so my thinking at the time, one would ever have the chance to seriously set this issue on the agenda again. The book will contain three texts: - introduction - text about historical circumstances (NATO double track decision, Easter Demonstrations, April 1986 - nuclear melt-down in Chernobyl - text about the art project

„Painting the Berlin Wall Gray“ Thomas Eller, 1986 This book is presenting a project I did as a young art student at the age of 22 in December 1986 shortly before my forced dismission from art school in Berlin. On December 15, 1986 I entered the visa issuing office of the GDR in Berlin Kreuzberg at the Waterloo Ufer 5-7. There I was trying to obtain information on who to talk to in East-Berlin to get “permission” for my project to paint the Berlin Wall gray in Kreuzberg just behind Künstlerhaus Bethanien where it was the most colorfully painted by artists. The 1980s were the pivotal moment for the peace movement in Germany, when NATO strategy had just shifted from “Mutual Assured Destruction”, which served as an effective deterrent to any kind of nuclear war between the two super-powers, to “Flexible Response”, which included scenarios of limited nuclear warfare with a new generation of nuclear warheads. A likely territory was Germany. This book documents the project and the resulting Stasi-file (documents collected by the secret service of the GDR) with photographs and documents. I never obtained any official permission. Inasfar this project really is a document of failed communication in the political realm between an artist and a government. However on a symbolical level it realized an artistic aspiration to reach into societal realities. By the mid-80s there were many artists in Berlin that developed a frontier city magic of images of which the Berlin Wall was an integral part. Everyone had gotten used to the Wall and artists´ efforts were not directed towards tearing down the wall, but to establish themselves in the legacy of Westberlin. I took this for bigottry and cynicism. The goal of the project “Painting the Berlin Wall Gray” was to again bring to attention the scandal that was the Berlin Wall. To engage the administration of the GDR was in same parts naive, as it seemed necessary for the sincerety of the project. At that time I was not aware of Joseph Beuys´ proposal in 1964 (my birthyear) to raise the height of the Berlin Wall by 4 cm for “esthetical reasons”. What I shared with him however, was the motive of the project to make visible the scandalon of the Berlin Wall in the western part of the city. Only if that was achieved, so my thinking at the time, one would ever have the chance to seriously set this issue on the agenda again. The book will contain three texts: - introduction - text about historical circumstances (NATO double track decision, Easter Demonstrations, April 1986 - nuclear melt-down in Chernobyl - text about the art project

„Painting the Berlin Wall Gray“ Thomas Eller, 1986 This book is presenting a project I did as a young art student at the age of 22 in December 1986 shortly before my forced dismission from art school in Berlin. On December 15, 1986 I entered the visa issuing office of the GDR in Berlin Kreuzberg at the Waterloo Ufer 5-7. There I was trying to obtain information on who to talk to in East-Berlin to get “permission” for my project to paint the Berlin Wall gray in Kreuzberg just behind Künstlerhaus Bethanien where it was the most colorfully painted by artists. The 1980s were the pivotal moment for the peace movement in Germany, when NATO strategy had just shifted from “Mutual Assured Destruction”, which served as an effective deterrent to any kind of nuclear war between the two super-powers, to “Flexible Response”, which included scenarios of limited nuclear warfare with a new generation of nuclear warheads. A likely territory was Germany. This book documents the project and the resulting Stasi-file (documents collected by the secret service of the GDR) with photographs and documents. I never obtained any official permission. Inasfar this project really is a document of failed communication in the political realm between an artist and a government. However on a symbolical level it realized an artistic aspiration to reach into societal realities. By the mid-80s there were many artists in Berlin that developed a frontier city magic of images of which the Berlin Wall was an integral part. Everyone had gotten used to the Wall and artists´ efforts were not directed towards tearing down the wall, but to establish themselves in the legacy of Westberlin. I took this for bigottry and cynicism. The goal of the project “Painting the Berlin Wall Gray” was to again bring to attention the scandal that was the Berlin Wall. To engage the administration of the GDR was in same parts naive, as it seemed necessary for the sincerety of the project. At that time I was not aware of Joseph Beuys´ proposal in 1964 (my birthyear) to raise the height of the Berlin Wall by 4 cm for “esthetical reasons”. What I shared with him however, was the motive of the project to make visible the scandalon of the Berlin Wall in the western part of the city. Only if that was achieved, so my thinking at the time, one would ever have the chance to seriously set this issue on the agenda again. The book will contain three texts: - introduction - text about historical circumstances (NATO double track decision, Easter Demonstrations, April 1986 - nuclear melt-down in Chernobyl - text about the art project

„Painting the Berlin Wall Gray“ Thomas Eller, 1986 This book is presenting a project I did as a young art student at the age of 22 in December 1986 shortly before my forced dismission from art school in Berlin. On December 15, 1986 I entered the visa issuing office of the GDR in Berlin Kreuzberg at the Waterloo Ufer 5-7. There I was trying to obtain information on who to talk to in East-Berlin to get “permission” for my project to paint the Berlin Wall gray in Kreuzberg just behind Künstlerhaus Bethanien where it was the most colorfully painted by artists. The 1980s were the pivotal moment for the peace movement in Germany, when NATO strategy had just shifted from “Mutual Assured Destruction”, which served as an effective deterrent to any kind of nuclear war between the two super-powers, to “Flexible Response”, which included scenarios of limited nuclear warfare with a new generation of nuclear warheads. A likely territory was Germany. This book documents the project and the resulting Stasi-file (documents collected by the secret service of the GDR) with photographs and documents. I never obtained any official permission. Inasfar this project really is a document of failed communication in the political realm between an artist and a government. However on a symbolical level it realized an artistic aspiration to reach into societal realities. By the mid-80s there were many artists in Berlin that developed a frontier city magic of images of which the Berlin Wall was an integral part. Everyone had gotten used to the Wall and artists´ efforts were not directed towards tearing down the wall, but to establish themselves in the legacy of Westberlin. I took this for bigottry and cynicism. The goal of the project “Painting the Berlin Wall Gray” was to again bring to attention the scandal that was the Berlin Wall. To engage the administration of the GDR was in same parts naive, as it seemed necessary for the sincerety of the project. At that time I was not aware of Joseph Beuys´ proposal in 1964 (my birthyear) to raise the height of the Berlin Wall by 4 cm for “esthetical reasons”. What I shared with him however, was the motive of the project to make visible the scandalon of the Berlin Wall in the western part of the city. Only if that was achieved, so my thinking at the time, one would ever have the chance to seriously set this issue on the agenda again. The book will contain three texts: - introduction - text about historical circumstances (NATO double track decision, Easter Demonstrations, April 1986 - nuclear melt-down in Chernobyl - text about the art project

„Painting the Berlin Wall Gray“ Thomas Eller, 1986 This book is presenting a project I did as a young art student at the age of 22 in December 1986 shortly before my forced dismission from art school in Berlin. On December 15, 1986 I entered the visa issuing office of the GDR in Berlin Kreuzberg at the Waterloo Ufer 5-7. There I was trying to obtain information on who to talk to in East-Berlin to get “permission” for my project to paint the Berlin Wall gray in Kreuzberg just behind Künstlerhaus Bethanien where it was the most colorfully painted by artists. The 1980s were the pivotal moment for the peace movement in Germany, when NATO strategy had just shifted from “Mutual Assured Destruction”, which served as an effective deterrent to any kind of nuclear war between the two super-powers, to “Flexible Response”, which included scenarios of limited nuclear warfare with a new generation of nuclear warheads. A likely territory was Germany. This book documents the project and the resulting Stasi-file (documents collected by the secret service of the GDR) with photographs and documents. I never obtained any official permission. Inasfar this project really is a document of failed communication in the political realm between an artist and a government. However on a symbolical level it realized an artistic aspiration to reach into societal realities. By the mid-80s there were many artists in Berlin that developed a frontier city magic of images of which the Berlin Wall was an integral part. Everyone had gotten used to the Wall and artists´ efforts were not directed towards tearing down the wall, but to establish themselves in the legacy of Westberlin. I took this for bigottry and cynicism. The goal of the project “Painting the Berlin Wall Gray” was to again bring to attention the scandal that was the Berlin Wall. To engage the administration of the GDR was in same parts naive, as it seemed necessary for the sincerety of the project. At that time I was not aware of Joseph Beuys´ proposal in 1964 (my birthyear) to raise the height of the Berlin Wall by 4 cm for “esthetical reasons”. What I shared with him however, was the motive of the project to make visible the scandalon of the Berlin Wall in the western part of the city. Only if that was achieved, so my thinking at the time, one would ever have the chance to seriously set this issue on the agenda again. The book will contain three texts: - introduction - text about historical circumstances (NATO double track decision, Easter Demonstrations, April 1986 - nuclear melt-down in Chernobyl - text about the art project

„Painting the Berlin Wall Gray“ Thomas Eller, 1986 This book is presenting a project I did as a young art student at the age of 22 in December 1986 shortly before my forced dismission from art school in Berlin. On December 15, 1986 I entered the visa issuing office of the GDR in Berlin Kreuzberg at the Waterloo Ufer 5-7. There I was trying to obtain information on who to talk to in East-Berlin to get “permission” for my project to paint the Berlin Wall gray in Kreuzberg just behind Künstlerhaus Bethanien where it was the most colorfully painted by artists. The 1980s were the pivotal moment for the peace movement in Germany, when NATO strategy had just shifted from “Mutual Assured Destruction”, which served as an effective deterrent to any kind of nuclear war between the two super-powers, to “Flexible Response”, which included scenarios of limited nuclear warfare with a new generation of nuclear warheads. A likely territory was Germany. This book documents the project and the resulting Stasi-file (documents collected by the secret service of the GDR) with photographs and documents. I never obtained any official permission. Inasfar this project really is a document of failed communication in the political realm between an artist and a government. However on a symbolical level it realized an artistic aspiration to reach into societal realities. By the mid-80s there were many artists in Berlin that developed a frontier city magic of images of which the Berlin Wall was an integral part. Everyone had gotten used to the Wall and artists´ efforts were not directed towards tearing down the wall, but to establish themselves in the legacy of Westberlin. I took this for bigottry and cynicism. The goal of the project “Painting the Berlin Wall Gray” was to again bring to attention the scandal that was the Berlin Wall. To engage the administration of the GDR was in same parts naive, as it seemed necessary for the sincerety of the project. At that time I was not aware of Joseph Beuys´ proposal in 1964 (my birthyear) to raise the height of the Berlin Wall by 4 cm for “esthetical reasons”. What I shared with him however, was the motive of the project to make visible the scandalon of the Berlin Wall in the western part of the city. Only if that was achieved, so my thinking at the time, one would ever have the chance to seriously set this issue on the agenda again. The book will contain three texts: - introduction - text about historical circumstances (NATO double track decision, Easter Demonstrations, April 1986 - nuclear melt-down in Chernobyl - text about the art project

„Painting the Berlin Wall Gray“ Thomas Eller, 1986 This book is presenting a project I did as a young art student at the age of 22 in December 1986 shortly before my forced dismission from art school in Berlin. On December 15, 1986 I entered the visa issuing office of the GDR in Berlin Kreuzberg at the Waterloo Ufer 5-7. There I was trying to obtain information on who to talk to in East-Berlin to get “permission” for my project to paint the Berlin Wall gray in Kreuzberg just behind Künstlerhaus Bethanien where it was the most colorfully painted by artists. The 1980s were the pivotal moment for the peace movement in Germany, when NATO strategy had just shifted from “Mutual Assured Destruction”, which served as an effective deterrent to any kind of nuclear war between the two super-powers, to “Flexible Response”, which included scenarios of limited nuclear warfare with a new generation of nuclear warheads. A likely territory was Germany. This book documents the project and the resulting Stasi-file (documents collected by the secret service of the GDR) with photographs and documents. I never obtained any official permission. Inasfar this project really is a document of failed communication in the political realm between an artist and a government. However on a symbolical level it realized an artistic aspiration to reach into societal realities. By the mid-80s there were many artists in Berlin that developed a frontier city magic of images of which the Berlin Wall was an integral part. Everyone had gotten used to the Wall and artists´ efforts were not directed towards tearing down the wall, but to establish themselves in the legacy of Westberlin. I took this for bigottry and cynicism. The goal of the project “Painting the Berlin Wall Gray” was to again bring to attention the scandal that was the Berlin Wall. To engage the administration of the GDR was in same parts naive, as it seemed necessary for the sincerety of the project. At that time I was not aware of Joseph Beuys´ proposal in 1964 (my birthyear) to raise the height of the Berlin Wall by 4 cm for “esthetical reasons”. What I shared with him however, was the motive of the project to make visible the scandalon of the Berlin Wall in the western part of the city. Only if that was achieved, so my thinking at the time, one would ever have the chance to seriously set this issue on the agenda again. The book will contain three texts: - introduction - text about historical circumstances (NATO double track decision, Easter Demonstrations, April 1986 - nuclear melt-down in Chernobyl - text about the art project

„Painting the Berlin Wall Gray“ Thomas Eller, 1986 This book is presenting a project I did as a young art student at the age of 22 in December 1986 shortly before my forced dismission from art school in Berlin. On December 15, 1986 I entered the visa issuing office of the GDR in Berlin Kreuzberg at the Waterloo Ufer 5-7. There I was trying to obtain information on who to talk to in East-Berlin to get “permission” for my project to paint the Berlin Wall gray in Kreuzberg just behind Künstlerhaus Bethanien where it was the most colorfully painted by artists. The 1980s were the pivotal moment for the peace movement in Germany, when NATO strategy had just shifted from “Mutual Assured Destruction”, which served as an effective deterrent to any kind of nuclear war between the two super-powers, to “Flexible Response”, which included scenarios of limited nuclear warfare with a new generation of nuclear warheads. A likely territory was Germany. This book documents the project and the resulting Stasi-file (documents collected by the secret service of the GDR) with photographs and documents. I never obtained any official permission. Inasfar this project really is a document of failed communication in the political realm between an artist and a government. However on a symbolical level it realized an artistic aspiration to reach into societal realities. By the mid-80s there were many artists in Berlin that developed a frontier city magic of images of which the Berlin Wall was an integral part. Everyone had gotten used to the Wall and artists´ efforts were not directed towards tearing down the wall, but to establish themselves in the legacy of Westberlin. I took this for bigottry and cynicism. The goal of the project “Painting the Berlin Wall Gray” was to again bring to attention the scandal that was the Berlin Wall. To engage the administration of the GDR was in same parts naive, as it seemed necessary for the sincerety of the project. At that time I was not aware of Joseph Beuys´ proposal in 1964 (my birthyear) to raise the height of the Berlin Wall by 4 cm for “esthetical reasons”. What I shared with him however, was the motive of the project to make visible the scandalon of the Berlin Wall in the western part of the city. Only if that was achieved, so my thinking at the time, one would ever have the chance to seriously set this issue on the agenda again. The book will contain three texts: - introduction - text about historical circumstances (NATO double track decision, Easter Demonstrations, April 1986 - nuclear melt-down in Chernobyl - text about the art project

„THE Selbst – greetings in Riga“ Thomas Eller, 1991 This is a as of yet unpublished documentation of a project in Riga, Latvia from the year 1991 when Latvia was still a Soviet province. In June of 1991, during the last months of the USSR, Riga was under siege by the Soviet elite OMON-troups. Latvian citizens had barricaded and were watching strategically important buildings and institutions, like the broadcasting system, the parliament, etc. It was very clear that Latvia was seeking independence. During this time I was invited to participate in a public art project took place within the framework of an exhibition called „Interferenzen. Kunst aus Westberlin”. My project consisted of three parts: 1. A sculpture of the artist (THE) was standing on the central boulevard in Riga 200 meters away from and opposite a statue of Lenin, in a sort of “stand-off situation”. 2. A 10 second broadcast on Latvian TV, three times a day for one week, always 10 seconds before the full hour, between 8 and 10 pm. The regular program stopped, the TV screen went into “white noise” as if after a technical problem. I then appeared on the screen and asked the famous question by Ad Reinhardt: „And what do you represent?” 3. For one week there was a daily spot in the Latvian Newspaper ‘Diena’ showing a different b&w rendering of the artist in a non-descript suit (as reference to the sculpture in the street, and on the last day the same spot was replaced by the question: „Who are you?” This documentation presents an art project that seized the moment of a unique historical situation and was using the whole gamut of what public art could be. In a rare intermediate situation there was a potential for artistic intervention that would not have been possible before of financially feasible afterwards and could at that time bring to the front the significance of the historical moment. During the preparation of the exhibition it was also unclear how the larger political situation would shift and which reactions would be triggered by the artistic intervention from the part of the administration, The citizens of RIga at that time were gathering for spontaneous public discussions at a prt of the Berlin wall that had been brought to Riga, or at their “statue of liberty”.

„THE Selbst – greetings in Riga“ Thomas Eller, 1991 This is a as of yet unpublished documentation of a project in Riga, Latvia from the year 1991 when Latvia was still a Soviet province. In June of 1991, during the last months of the USSR, Riga was under siege by the Soviet elite OMON-troups. Latvian citizens had barricaded and were watching strategically important buildings and institutions, like the broadcasting system, the parliament, etc. It was very clear that Latvia was seeking independence. During this time I was invited to participate in a public art project took place within the framework of an exhibition called „Interferenzen. Kunst aus Westberlin”. My project consisted of three parts: 1. A sculpture of the artist (THE) was standing on the central boulevard in Riga 200 meters away from and opposite a statue of Lenin, in a sort of “stand-off situation”. 2. A 10 second broadcast on Latvian TV, three times a day for one week, always 10 seconds before the full hour, between 8 and 10 pm. The regular program stopped, the TV screen went into “white noise” as if after a technical problem. I then appeared on the screen and asked the famous question by Ad Reinhardt: „And what do you represent?” 3. For one week there was a daily spot in the Latvian Newspaper ‘Diena’ showing a different b&w rendering of the artist in a non-descript suit (as reference to the sculpture in the street, and on the last day the same spot was replaced by the question: „Who are you?” This documentation presents an art project that seized the moment of a unique historical situation and was using the whole gamut of what public art could be. In a rare intermediate situation there was a potential for artistic intervention that would not have been possible before of financially feasible afterwards and could at that time bring to the front the significance of the historical moment. During the preparation of the exhibition it was also unclear how the larger political situation would shift and which reactions would be triggered by the artistic intervention from the part of the administration, The citizens of RIga at that time were gathering for spontaneous public discussions at a prt of the Berlin wall that had been brought to Riga, or at their “statue of liberty”.

„THE Selbst – greetings in Riga“ Thomas Eller, 1991 This is a as of yet unpublished documentation of a project in Riga, Latvia from the year 1991 when Latvia was still a Soviet province. In June of 1991, during the last months of the USSR, Riga was under siege by the Soviet elite OMON-troups. Latvian citizens had barricaded and were watching strategically important buildings and institutions, like the broadcasting system, the parliament, etc. It was very clear that Latvia was seeking independence. During this time I was invited to participate in a public art project took place within the framework of an exhibition called „Interferenzen. Kunst aus Westberlin”. My project consisted of three parts: 1. A sculpture of the artist (THE) was standing on the central boulevard in Riga 200 meters away from and opposite a statue of Lenin, in a sort of “stand-off situation”. 2. A 10 second broadcast on Latvian TV, three times a day for one week, always 10 seconds before the full hour, between 8 and 10 pm. The regular program stopped, the TV screen went into “white noise” as if after a technical problem. I then appeared on the screen and asked the famous question by Ad Reinhardt: „And what do you represent?” 3. For one week there was a daily spot in the Latvian Newspaper ‘Diena’ showing a different b&w rendering of the artist in a non-descript suit (as reference to the sculpture in the street, and on the last day the same spot was replaced by the question: „Who are you?” This documentation presents an art project that seized the moment of a unique historical situation and was using the whole gamut of what public art could be. In a rare intermediate situation there was a potential for artistic intervention that would not have been possible before of financially feasible afterwards and could at that time bring to the front the significance of the historical moment. During the preparation of the exhibition it was also unclear how the larger political situation would shift and which reactions would be triggered by the artistic intervention from the part of the administration, The citizens of RIga at that time were gathering for spontaneous public discussions at a prt of the Berlin wall that had been brought to Riga, or at their “statue of liberty”.

„THE Selbst – greetings in Riga“ Thomas Eller, 1991 This is a as of yet unpublished documentation of a project in Riga, Latvia from the year 1991 when Latvia was still a Soviet province. In June of 1991, during the last months of the USSR, Riga was under siege by the Soviet elite OMON-troups. Latvian citizens had barricaded and were watching strategically important buildings and institutions, like the broadcasting system, the parliament, etc. It was very clear that Latvia was seeking independence. During this time I was invited to participate in a public art project took place within the framework of an exhibition called „Interferenzen. Kunst aus Westberlin”. My project consisted of three parts: 1. A sculpture of the artist (THE) was standing on the central boulevard in Riga 200 meters away from and opposite a statue of Lenin, in a sort of “stand-off situation”. 2. A 10 second broadcast on Latvian TV, three times a day for one week, always 10 seconds before the full hour, between 8 and 10 pm. The regular program stopped, the TV screen went into “white noise” as if after a technical problem. I then appeared on the screen and asked the famous question by Ad Reinhardt: „And what do you represent?” 3. For one week there was a daily spot in the Latvian Newspaper ‘Diena’ showing a different b&w rendering of the artist in a non-descript suit (as reference to the sculpture in the street, and on the last day the same spot was replaced by the question: „Who are you?” This documentation presents an art project that seized the moment of a unique historical situation and was using the whole gamut of what public art could be. In a rare intermediate situation there was a potential for artistic intervention that would not have been possible before of financially feasible afterwards and could at that time bring to the front the significance of the historical moment. During the preparation of the exhibition it was also unclear how the larger political situation would shift and which reactions would be triggered by the artistic intervention from the part of the administration, The citizens of RIga at that time were gathering for spontaneous public discussions at a prt of the Berlin wall that had been brought to Riga, or at their “statue of liberty”.

„THE Selbst – greetings in Riga“ Thomas Eller, 1991 This is a as of yet unpublished documentation of a project in Riga, Latvia from the year 1991 when Latvia was still a Soviet province. In June of 1991, during the last months of the USSR, Riga was under siege by the Soviet elite OMON-troups. Latvian citizens had barricaded and were watching strategically important buildings and institutions, like the broadcasting system, the parliament, etc. It was very clear that Latvia was seeking independence. During this time I was invited to participate in a public art project took place within the framework of an exhibition called „Interferenzen. Kunst aus Westberlin”. My project consisted of three parts: 1. A sculpture of the artist (THE) was standing on the central boulevard in Riga 200 meters away from and opposite a statue of Lenin, in a sort of “stand-off situation”. 2. A 10 second broadcast on Latvian TV, three times a day for one week, always 10 seconds before the full hour, between 8 and 10 pm. The regular program stopped, the TV screen went into “white noise” as if after a technical problem. I then appeared on the screen and asked the famous question by Ad Reinhardt: „And what do you represent?” 3. For one week there was a daily spot in the Latvian Newspaper ‘Diena’ showing a different b&w rendering of the artist in a non-descript suit (as reference to the sculpture in the street, and on the last day the same spot was replaced by the question: „Who are you?” This documentation presents an art project that seized the moment of a unique historical situation and was using the whole gamut of what public art could be. In a rare intermediate situation there was a potential for artistic intervention that would not have been possible before of financially feasible afterwards and could at that time bring to the front the significance of the historical moment. During the preparation of the exhibition it was also unclear how the larger political situation would shift and which reactions would be triggered by the artistic intervention from the part of the administration, The citizens of RIga at that time were gathering for spontaneous public discussions at a prt of the Berlin wall that had been brought to Riga, or at their “statue of liberty”.

„THE Selbst – greetings in Riga“ Thomas Eller, 1991 This is a as of yet unpublished documentation of a project in Riga, Latvia from the year 1991 when Latvia was still a Soviet province. In June of 1991, during the last months of the USSR, Riga was under siege by the Soviet elite OMON-troups. Latvian citizens had barricaded and were watching strategically important buildings and institutions, like the broadcasting system, the parliament, etc. It was very clear that Latvia was seeking independence. During this time I was invited to participate in a public art project took place within the framework of an exhibition called „Interferenzen. Kunst aus Westberlin”. My project consisted of three parts: 1. A sculpture of the artist (THE) was standing on the central boulevard in Riga 200 meters away from and opposite a statue of Lenin, in a sort of “stand-off situation”. 2. A 10 second broadcast on Latvian TV, three times a day for one week, always 10 seconds before the full hour, between 8 and 10 pm. The regular program stopped, the TV screen went into “white noise” as if after a technical problem. I then appeared on the screen and asked the famous question by Ad Reinhardt: „And what do you represent?” 3. For one week there was a daily spot in the Latvian Newspaper ‘Diena’ showing a different b&w rendering of the artist in a non-descript suit (as reference to the sculpture in the street, and on the last day the same spot was replaced by the question: „Who are you?” This documentation presents an art project that seized the moment of a unique historical situation and was using the whole gamut of what public art could be. In a rare intermediate situation there was a potential for artistic intervention that would not have been possible before of financially feasible afterwards and could at that time bring to the front the significance of the historical moment. During the preparation of the exhibition it was also unclear how the larger political situation would shift and which reactions would be triggered by the artistic intervention from the part of the administration, The citizens of RIga at that time were gathering for spontaneous public discussions at a prt of the Berlin wall that had been brought to Riga, or at their “statue of liberty”.

„THE Selbst – greetings in Riga“ Thomas Eller, 1991 This is a as of yet unpublished documentation of a project in Riga, Latvia from the year 1991 when Latvia was still a Soviet province. In June of 1991, during the last months of the USSR, Riga was under siege by the Soviet elite OMON-troups. Latvian citizens had barricaded and were watching strategically important buildings and institutions, like the broadcasting system, the parliament, etc. It was very clear that Latvia was seeking independence. During this time I was invited to participate in a public art project took place within the framework of an exhibition called „Interferenzen. Kunst aus Westberlin”. My project consisted of three parts: 1. A sculpture of the artist (THE) was standing on the central boulevard in Riga 200 meters away from and opposite a statue of Lenin, in a sort of “stand-off situation”. 2. A 10 second broadcast on Latvian TV, three times a day for one week, always 10 seconds before the full hour, between 8 and 10 pm. The regular program stopped, the TV screen went into “white noise” as if after a technical problem. I then appeared on the screen and asked the famous question by Ad Reinhardt: „And what do you represent?” 3. For one week there was a daily spot in the Latvian Newspaper ‘Diena’ showing a different b&w rendering of the artist in a non-descript suit (as reference to the sculpture in the street, and on the last day the same spot was replaced by the question: „Who are you?” This documentation presents an art project that seized the moment of a unique historical situation and was using the whole gamut of what public art could be. In a rare intermediate situation there was a potential for artistic intervention that would not have been possible before of financially feasible afterwards and could at that time bring to the front the significance of the historical moment. During the preparation of the exhibition it was also unclear how the larger political situation would shift and which reactions would be triggered by the artistic intervention from the part of the administration, The citizens of RIga at that time were gathering for spontaneous public discussions at a prt of the Berlin wall that had been brought to Riga, or at their “statue of liberty”.

„THE Selbst – greetings in Riga“ Thomas Eller, 1991 This is a as of yet unpublished documentation of a project in Riga, Latvia from the year 1991 when Latvia was still a Soviet province. In June of 1991, during the last months of the USSR, Riga was under siege by the Soviet elite OMON-troups. Latvian citizens had barricaded and were watching strategically important buildings and institutions, like the broadcasting system, the parliament, etc. It was very clear that Latvia was seeking independence. During this time I was invited to participate in a public art project took place within the framework of an exhibition called „Interferenzen. Kunst aus Westberlin”. My project consisted of three parts: 1. A sculpture of the artist (THE) was standing on the central boulevard in Riga 200 meters away from and opposite a statue of Lenin, in a sort of “stand-off situation”. 2. A 10 second broadcast on Latvian TV, three times a day for one week, always 10 seconds before the full hour, between 8 and 10 pm. The regular program stopped, the TV screen went into “white noise” as if after a technical problem. I then appeared on the screen and asked the famous question by Ad Reinhardt: „And what do you represent?” 3. For one week there was a daily spot in the Latvian Newspaper ‘Diena’ showing a different b&w rendering of the artist in a non-descript suit (as reference to the sculpture in the street, and on the last day the same spot was replaced by the question: „Who are you?” This documentation presents an art project that seized the moment of a unique historical situation and was using the whole gamut of what public art could be. In a rare intermediate situation there was a potential for artistic intervention that would not have been possible before of financially feasible afterwards and could at that time bring to the front the significance of the historical moment. During the preparation of the exhibition it was also unclear how the larger political situation would shift and which reactions would be triggered by the artistic intervention from the part of the administration, The citizens of RIga at that time were gathering for spontaneous public discussions at a prt of the Berlin wall that had been brought to Riga, or at their “statue of liberty”.

„THE Selbst – greetings in Riga“ Thomas Eller, 1991 This is a as of yet unpublished documentation of a project in Riga, Latvia from the year 1991 when Latvia was still a Soviet province. In June of 1991, during the last months of the USSR, Riga was under siege by the Soviet elite OMON-troups. Latvian citizens had barricaded and were watching strategically important buildings and institutions, like the broadcasting system, the parliament, etc. It was very clear that Latvia was seeking independence. During this time I was invited to participate in a public art project took place within the framework of an exhibition called „Interferenzen. Kunst aus Westberlin”. My project consisted of three parts: 1. A sculpture of the artist (THE) was standing on the central boulevard in Riga 200 meters away from and opposite a statue of Lenin, in a sort of “stand-off situation”. 2. A 10 second broadcast on Latvian TV, three times a day for one week, always 10 seconds before the full hour, between 8 and 10 pm. The regular program stopped, the TV screen went into “white noise” as if after a technical problem. I then appeared on the screen and asked the famous question by Ad Reinhardt: „And what do you represent?” 3. For one week there was a daily spot in the Latvian Newspaper ‘Diena’ showing a different b&w rendering of the artist in a non-descript suit (as reference to the sculpture in the street, and on the last day the same spot was replaced by the question: „Who are you?” This documentation presents an art project that seized the moment of a unique historical situation and was using the whole gamut of what public art could be. In a rare intermediate situation there was a potential for artistic intervention that would not have been possible before of financially feasible afterwards and could at that time bring to the front the significance of the historical moment. During the preparation of the exhibition it was also unclear how the larger political situation would shift and which reactions would be triggered by the artistic intervention from the part of the administration, The citizens of RIga at that time were gathering for spontaneous public discussions at a prt of the Berlin wall that had been brought to Riga, or at their “statue of liberty”.

„THE Selbst – greetings in Riga“ Thomas Eller, 1991 This is a as of yet unpublished documentation of a project in Riga, Latvia from the year 1991 when Latvia was still a Soviet province. In June of 1991, during the last months of the USSR, Riga was under siege by the Soviet elite OMON-troups. Latvian citizens had barricaded and were watching strategically important buildings and institutions, like the broadcasting system, the parliament, etc. It was very clear that Latvia was seeking independence. During this time I was invited to participate in a public art project took place within the framework of an exhibition called „Interferenzen. Kunst aus Westberlin”. My project consisted of three parts: 1. A sculpture of the artist (THE) was standing on the central boulevard in Riga 200 meters away from and opposite a statue of Lenin, in a sort of “stand-off situation”. 2. A 10 second broadcast on Latvian TV, three times a day for one week, always 10 seconds before the full hour, between 8 and 10 pm. The regular program stopped, the TV screen went into “white noise” as if after a technical problem. I then appeared on the screen and asked the famous question by Ad Reinhardt: „And what do you represent?” 3. For one week there was a daily spot in the Latvian Newspaper ‘Diena’ showing a different b&w rendering of the artist in a non-descript suit (as reference to the sculpture in the street, and on the last day the same spot was replaced by the question: „Who are you?” This documentation presents an art project that seized the moment of a unique historical situation and was using the whole gamut of what public art could be. In a rare intermediate situation there was a potential for artistic intervention that would not have been possible before of financially feasible afterwards and could at that time bring to the front the significance of the historical moment. During the preparation of the exhibition it was also unclear how the larger political situation would shift and which reactions would be triggered by the artistic intervention from the part of the administration, The citizens of RIga at that time were gathering for spontaneous public discussions at a prt of the Berlin wall that had been brought to Riga, or at their “statue of liberty”.

„THE Selbst – greetings in Riga“ Thomas Eller, 1991 This is a as of yet unpublished documentation of a project in Riga, Latvia from the year 1991 when Latvia was still a Soviet province. In June of 1991, during the last months of the USSR, Riga was under siege by the Soviet elite OMON-troups. Latvian citizens had barricaded and were watching strategically important buildings and institutions, like the broadcasting system, the parliament, etc. It was very clear that Latvia was seeking independence. During this time I was invited to participate in a public art project took place within the framework of an exhibition called „Interferenzen. Kunst aus Westberlin”. My project consisted of three parts: 1. A sculpture of the artist (THE) was standing on the central boulevard in Riga 200 meters away from and opposite a statue of Lenin, in a sort of “stand-off situation”. 2. A 10 second broadcast on Latvian TV, three times a day for one week, always 10 seconds before the full hour, between 8 and 10 pm. The regular program stopped, the TV screen went into “white noise” as if after a technical problem. I then appeared on the screen and asked the famous question by Ad Reinhardt: „And what do you represent?” 3. For one week there was a daily spot in the Latvian Newspaper ‘Diena’ showing a different b&w rendering of the artist in a non-descript suit (as reference to the sculpture in the street, and on the last day the same spot was replaced by the question: „Who are you?” This documentation presents an art project that seized the moment of a unique historical situation and was using the whole gamut of what public art could be. In a rare intermediate situation there was a potential for artistic intervention that would not have been possible before of financially feasible afterwards and could at that time bring to the front the significance of the historical moment. During the preparation of the exhibition it was also unclear how the larger political situation would shift and which reactions would be triggered by the artistic intervention from the part of the administration, The citizens of RIga at that time were gathering for spontaneous public discussions at a prt of the Berlin wall that had been brought to Riga, or at their “statue of liberty”.

„THE Selbst – greetings in Riga“ Thomas Eller, 1991 This is a as of yet unpublished documentation of a project in Riga, Latvia from the year 1991 when Latvia was still a Soviet province. In June of 1991, during the last months of the USSR, Riga was under siege by the Soviet elite OMON-troups. Latvian citizens had barricaded and were watching strategically important buildings and institutions, like the broadcasting system, the parliament, etc. It was very clear that Latvia was seeking independence. During this time I was invited to participate in a public art project took place within the framework of an exhibition called „Interferenzen. Kunst aus Westberlin”. My project consisted of three parts: 1. A sculpture of the artist (THE) was standing on the central boulevard in Riga 200 meters away from and opposite a statue of Lenin, in a sort of “stand-off situation”. 2. A 10 second broadcast on Latvian TV, three times a day for one week, always 10 seconds before the full hour, between 8 and 10 pm. The regular program stopped, the TV screen went into “white noise” as if after a technical problem. I then appeared on the screen and asked the famous question by Ad Reinhardt: „And what do you represent?” 3. For one week there was a daily spot in the Latvian Newspaper ‘Diena’ showing a different b&w rendering of the artist in a non-descript suit (as reference to the sculpture in the street, and on the last day the same spot was replaced by the question: „Who are you?” This documentation presents an art project that seized the moment of a unique historical situation and was using the whole gamut of what public art could be. In a rare intermediate situation there was a potential for artistic intervention that would not have been possible before of financially feasible afterwards and could at that time bring to the front the significance of the historical moment. During the preparation of the exhibition it was also unclear how the larger political situation would shift and which reactions would be triggered by the artistic intervention from the part of the administration, The citizens of RIga at that time were gathering for spontaneous public discussions at a prt of the Berlin wall that had been brought to Riga, or at their “statue of liberty”.

„THE Selbst – greetings in Riga“ Thomas Eller, 1991 This is a as of yet unpublished documentation of a project in Riga, Latvia from the year 1991 when Latvia was still a Soviet province. In June of 1991, during the last months of the USSR, Riga was under siege by the Soviet elite OMON-troups. Latvian citizens had barricaded and were watching strategically important buildings and institutions, like the broadcasting system, the parliament, etc. It was very clear that Latvia was seeking independence. During this time I was invited to participate in a public art project took place within the framework of an exhibition called „Interferenzen. Kunst aus Westberlin”. My project consisted of three parts: 1. A sculpture of the artist (THE) was standing on the central boulevard in Riga 200 meters away from and opposite a statue of Lenin, in a sort of “stand-off situation”. 2. A 10 second broadcast on Latvian TV, three times a day for one week, always 10 seconds before the full hour, between 8 and 10 pm. The regular program stopped, the TV screen went into “white noise” as if after a technical problem. I then appeared on the screen and asked the famous question by Ad Reinhardt: „And what do you represent?” 3. For one week there was a daily spot in the Latvian Newspaper ‘Diena’ showing a different b&w rendering of the artist in a non-descript suit (as reference to the sculpture in the street, and on the last day the same spot was replaced by the question: „Who are you?” This documentation presents an art project that seized the moment of a unique historical situation and was using the whole gamut of what public art could be. In a rare intermediate situation there was a potential for artistic intervention that would not have been possible before of financially feasible afterwards and could at that time bring to the front the significance of the historical moment. During the preparation of the exhibition it was also unclear how the larger political situation would shift and which reactions would be triggered by the artistic intervention from the part of the administration, The citizens of RIga at that time were gathering for spontaneous public discussions at a prt of the Berlin wall that had been brought to Riga, or at their “statue of liberty”.

„THE Selbst – greetings in Riga“ Thomas Eller, 1991 This is a as of yet unpublished documentation of a project in Riga, Latvia from the year 1991 when Latvia was still a Soviet province. In June of 1991, during the last months of the USSR, Riga was under siege by the Soviet elite OMON-troups. Latvian citizens had barricaded and were watching strategically important buildings and institutions, like the broadcasting system, the parliament, etc. It was very clear that Latvia was seeking independence. During this time I was invited to participate in a public art project took place within the framework of an exhibition called „Interferenzen. Kunst aus Westberlin”. My project consisted of three parts: 1. A sculpture of the artist (THE) was standing on the central boulevard in Riga 200 meters away from and opposite a statue of Lenin, in a sort of “stand-off situation”. 2. A 10 second broadcast on Latvian TV, three times a day for one week, always 10 seconds before the full hour, between 8 and 10 pm. The regular program stopped, the TV screen went into “white noise” as if after a technical problem. I then appeared on the screen and asked the famous question by Ad Reinhardt: „And what do you represent?” 3. For one week there was a daily spot in the Latvian Newspaper ‘Diena’ showing a different b&w rendering of the artist in a non-descript suit (as reference to the sculpture in the street, and on the last day the same spot was replaced by the question: „Who are you?” This documentation presents an art project that seized the moment of a unique historical situation and was using the whole gamut of what public art could be. In a rare intermediate situation there was a potential for artistic intervention that would not have been possible before of financially feasible afterwards and could at that time bring to the front the significance of the historical moment. During the preparation of the exhibition it was also unclear how the larger political situation would shift and which reactions would be triggered by the artistic intervention from the part of the administration, The citizens of RIga at that time were gathering for spontaneous public discussions at a prt of the Berlin wall that had been brought to Riga, or at their “statue of liberty”.

THE Sublime – SELBST, 1990 – SAM ROSE I became involved with the idea of making the viewer present: the idea that first< required that it has already occurred: quod. That it occurs is always the >prerequisite< for the question of what occurs. That it occurs: this is a question understood as an event; >afterwards< refers to the event that has just happened. The event is concluded as a question mark, even before it appears as a question. It occurs, il arrive is >first< the question: Does it occur?" "Why is there anything at all instead of nothing?" Heidegger asks. It is from this nothing that presence comes into being. That was the program of Yves Klein’s exhibition of an empty gallery. Both Newman and Klein could only depict the "other" in the constitution of the self as something induced from the exterior. They knew that experience is not visible but that the formal conditions of the work of art only function as generators that operate to open up the space behind all ideas about something xxx. It is the last space from which all others originate; it is the location of imagination itself. The experience of this space is the sublime. But Newman and Klein don’t show that the site of constitution is found in the self. However, their transcendence becomes totalitarian. The observer is supposed to experience; to do this, he must be lost in totality. The loss of everything concrete is intended to then lead the observer to transcendence. Is it possible to live with this location (which is actually lacking a location) as a foundation? But in this place, the infinite, there is no possibility to act due to the scarcity of scarcity. One just can’t quite enter. It would be an end if one couldn’t succeed in changing the concrete from a position within totality. To realize the idea that man is present, it is necessary to reintroduce the concrete. Thus the sublime needs a medium through which it can realize itself — the SELF. Its appearance is only possible with the reversal of space. By leaving this space, the imaginary space that had just been opened is once again closed. He is no longer the one who gathers me within him; although he is greater than ME, he is within my self. In fact, this self, like the sublime, lacks an image and enters the sublime by being different from the world of the concrete. The sublime is the (abstract) self and thus noncommunicable. There is no observer of this process; there is only a participant. IT introduces itself: Thomas Eller But: who is Thomas Eller? — He who asks in this way must answer: the other. I is not I. The knowledge of the difference within the self opens the space. Does it occur? — From the difference! There is no reason for THE to appear, but it occurs. It enters: THE sublime — SELF J.-F. Lyotard: The Transcendent and the Avantgarde. Merkur, no. 424, 1984, pgs. 151-.">

THE Sublime – SELBST, 1990 – SAM ROSE I became involved with the idea of making the viewer present: the idea that "Man Is Present". Barnett Newman It occurs: man is present. This presence is no mere existence as an object, but rather a transcendental relationship to the self after it has been fundamentally put into question. Thus for Barnett Newman the negation of the observer is essential to the observer’s self-constitution. The negation of man is not an external process; instead, it results from the limits of his own perception. This limit — the internal negation — confines him within his self, i.e., without the negation within the SELF, there is no self. Self can never be considered a substance; it can only be thought of as the act of constituting the self. It is paradoxical that this succeeds. This self — precisely termed Now by Barnett Newman — is unknown to consciousness, says Jean-François Lyotard. "It is that which confuses consciousness itself; it distills what it fails to conceive of and what it forgets in order to constitute itself. What we are unable to conceive of, is that something occurs, or, more precisely and simply, that it occurs." He continues: "It is not a question of the meaning and reality of what occurs, or what this implies. Before one asks: "what is this?", "what does this mean?", before the quid, it is, so to speak, >first< required that it has already occurred: quod. That it occurs is always the >prerequisite< for the question of what occurs. That it occurs: this is a question understood as an event; >afterwards< refers to the event that has just happened. The event is concluded as a question mark, even before it appears as a question. It occurs, il arrive is >first< the question: Does it occur?" "Why is there anything at all instead of nothing?" Heidegger asks. It is from this nothing that presence comes into being. That was the program of Yves Klein’s exhibition of an empty gallery. Both Newman and Klein could only depict the "other" in the constitution of the self as something induced from the exterior. They knew that experience is not visible but that the formal conditions of the work of art only function as generators that operate to open up the space behind all ideas about something xxx. It is the last space from which all others originate; it is the location of imagination itself. The experience of this space is the sublime. But Newman and Klein don’t show that the site of constitution is found in the self. However, their transcendence becomes totalitarian. The observer is supposed to experience; to do this, he must be lost in totality. The loss of everything concrete is intended to then lead the observer to transcendence. Is it possible to live with this location (which is actually lacking a location) as a foundation? But in this place, the infinite, there is no possibility to act due to the scarcity of scarcity. One just can’t quite enter. It would be an end if one couldn’t succeed in changing the concrete from a position within totality. To realize the idea that man is present, it is necessary to reintroduce the concrete. Thus the sublime needs a medium through which it can realize itself — the SELF. Its appearance is only possible with the reversal of space. By leaving this space, the imaginary space that had just been opened is once again closed. He is no longer the one who gathers me within him; although he is greater than ME, he is within my self. In fact, this self, like the sublime, lacks an image and enters the sublime by being different from the world of the concrete. The sublime is the (abstract) self and thus noncommunicable. There is no observer of this process; there is only a participant. IT introduces itself: Thomas Eller But: who is Thomas Eller? — He who asks in this way must answer: the other. I is not I. The knowledge of the difference within the self opens the space. Does it occur? — From the difference! There is no reason for THE to appear, but it occurs. It enters: THE sublime — SELF J.-F. Lyotard: The Transcendent and the Avantgarde. Merkur, no. 424, 1984, pgs. 151-.

THE Sublime – SELBST, 1990

THE Sublime – SELBST, 1990

THE selbst (das moralische Gesetz in mir), 1992

THE selbst (das moralische Gesetz in mir), 1992

THE - Selbst (mit großem Rasenstück), 1992, 360 x 570 x 120 cm, Perspektive (und wir denken dabei natürlich sofort an Zentralperspektive) ist heute überhaupt kein Thema. Alles scheint klar zu sein. Dennoch darüber zu sprechen, muß begründet sein. Daß es in der Geschichte auch schon andere Konzeptionen der bildhaften Darstellung von Raum gab, ist uns nicht gerade sehr bewußt. Zumeist halten wir antike Raumdarstellungen für mißlungen. Die zugrundeliegende Vereinbarung über die Konzeption der Raumdarstellung halten wir üblicherweise für natürlich und verkennen dabei deren Konstruiertheit. Zentralperspektive aber beruht auf bestimmten apriorischen Voraussetzungen. Wir stellen uns „das Bild als einen planen Durchschnitt durch die Sehpyramide vor, die dadurch entsteht, daß ich das Sehzentrum als eine Punkt behandle und diesen mit einzelnen charakteristischen Punkten des darzustellenden Raumgebildes verbinde.“1 Tatsächlich aber haben wir zwei bewegliche Augen mit sphärischem Augenhintergrund, nicht wie der Einäugige auf der Abbildung, der durch sein Fenster auf einen Raumkasten schaut. In dieser Versuchsanordnung kann der Zyklop mit dem Blindenstab seine Position nicht verändern, er würde sonst die ganze Konstruktion niederreißen. Bewegung aber ist Veränderung in der Zeit. Der Zyklop jedoch ist auf einen Ort gebannt und kennt keine Zeit. Damit ist der rationale, d. h. unendlich stetige, homogene Raum erfunden. Es ist der Systemraum der Mathematik, in dem derer Gesetze unabhängig von der Zeit gültig sind. In der Renaissance, als diese Perspektive erfunden wurde, sah man die Welt durch ein solches Fenster. Die Zentralperspektive bewirkte eine Beschleunigung des Raumes (imperiale? Expansion) auf den Fluchtpunkt zu und in ihm einen Stillstand der Zeit (Zentralismus)2. Der Fluchtpunkt der Perspektivtheorie entspricht dem Herrschaftssitz des Stadtfürsten. Man hat die Welt durch ein Fenster (Bilderrahmen) geordnet und beherrscht. Etwas von dieser Autorität spürt man auch heute noch als Fotograf. Die Camera Obscura ist die technische Materialisierung dieser Auffassung von Perspektive (sie ist sozusagen eingebaut). Beim Blick durch die Kamera scheint Alles auf mich zuzustreben. Mit diesem Kasten kann ich die Welt festhalten (das ist das, was der Herrscher tut), was so etwas wie portabler Imperialismus ist. Wie läßt sich Weltbezug ohne totalistische, zentralistische Perspektive herstellen? Es war der Künstler Albrecht Dürer, der in der Renaissance die maßgeblichen Grundlagen der Perspektive erarbeitete. Er entwickelte nach seiner Italienreise, den Apparat des zentralperspektivischen Systemraums. Die Arbeit THE Selbst (mit großem Rasenstück) bezieht sich auf das Aquarell Das große Rasenstück von Albrecht Dürer als kunsthistorischem Referenzpunkt. Thomas Eller nimmt seine Italienreise zum Anlaß der Beschäftigung mit dem Problem der Perspektiven. Zwölf farbige Großfotos von Wiesenpflanzen, auf Aluminium aufgezogen, werden durch eine Aluminiumkonstruktion in eine Position gebracht, in der sie räumlich gestaffelt vor der Wand schweben. Davor steht eine s/w-Fotofigur von Thomas Eller. Die Größe der gesamten Installation ist ca. 600 cm in der Breite, 350 cm in der Höhe und 100 cm in der Tiefe. Läßt sich unser heutiges Interesse an den Dingen noch mit den Mitteln der Zentralperspektive beschreiben? - Nein! Die Dinge erscheinen uns heute ganz anders. Sie sind nicht mehr kohärent in Raum geordnet, sondern immer von je partikularem Interesse. Wir sehen die Mikrostrukturen an; suchen nach den jeweiligen Eigenschaften. Der Zugriff auf die Dinge ist immer relational; durch technische Vermittlung, die die Gegenstände interpretiert, erscheinen sie erst. Das Ergebnis der Erfahrung ist abhängig von der Zeit, dem Ort und der Art der Untersuchung. Diese Parameter aber sind immer andere. Die Perspektive heute ist polyvalent. Das Interesse der Arbeit Thomas Ellers ist, diese Kontextualität der Dinge am Beispiel eines Wiesenstücks zu zeigen. Mit technischer Vermittlung durch den Fotoapparat entstehen Bilder, die, ausgeschnitten und auf Aluminium kaschiert, die Vorstellung eines Wiesenstücks aus einem Dutzend Blickwinkeln zu je einem diskreten Zeitpunkt (je auf eine Pflanze) synthetisieren. Durch das Ausschneiden der Bildobjekte wird der Fotografie auf subversive Weise der monokulare, zentralistische Systemraum wieder genommen, den der Fotoapparat vorher erzeugt. Fotografie wird hier paradoxal benutzt. Das Faktum des Ausschneidens läßt nicht auf eine gebrochene, gesplitterte Bildwelt schließen. Nicht das Bild wird kritisiert, sondern der Bildraum (somit die Perspektive auf Welt) ist in Frage gestellt. Die Bilder ohne Raum werden als absolute Objekte neugeordnet und finden einen neuen Ort im Ausstellungs-Raum. Daher ist das daraus entstehende Bild auch ohne Rahmen. Er wird sowohl in technischer, als auch in erkenntnistheoretischer Hinsicht durch die komplexe, technisch ausgefeilte Hintergrundkonstruktion aus Aluminiumtafeln und -profilen ersetzt. Die Konstruktion des Blicks der Perspektiven wird deutlich. Dadurch wird das erkenntnistheoretische Problem, wie sich ausdifferenzierte Einzelwahrnehmungen überhaupt noch zu einem sinnvollen Gesamtbild zusammenfügen lassen, ebenso angesprochen, wie die Frage der Ökologie, welche Faktoren die jeweiligen Kreisläufe bestimmen und ob sich diese in summa beschreiben lassen. Daß sich die Brüche zwischen den jeweiligen Einzelwahrnehmungen nicht glätten lassen, scheint mir eine der wichtigsten Erkenntnisse, die die neue Perspektive konstituieren. Es ist wichtig, dieses Nebeneinander dennoch im Disparaten zusammenzuhalten. Der Ort an dem dies geschieht, ist der Erfahrende selbst. Das ist der Grund für die Fotofigur (ein Selbstportrait des Künstlers), die im Vordergrund steht. Sie bildet sozusagen die erkenntnistheoretische Folie, auf der die Arbeit sich abbildet und sich dem Betrachter weitervermittelt. Denn die Frage, wer das ist? - Thomas Eller, der Autor, der sich in das Bild als Vermittler hineinstellt - ist nicht beantwortbar. Es ist nicht die romantische Bildkonzeption eines C. D. Friedrich, der mit seinen Rückenansichten noch immer an das Paradigma der Zentralperspektive gebunden ist (der Mönch sieht in das Meer hinein); es dreht sich im Gegenteil das Bild um und sieht den Betrachter an. Es geht hier nicht darum, eine Person vorzustellen, zu sehr abstrahiert sich das Schwarz-weiß der Figur vor dem farbigen Hintergrund und wird zu einem reinen Maßstab für die Wiesenpflanzen. Sie sind nicht mehr nur einfach groß in Bezug auf den Betrachter, für den die Situation paradox ist: Er ist sehr groß in Bezug auf die neunzig Zentimeter hohe Fotofigur, aber sehr, sehr klein in Bezug auf die Wiesenpflanzen. In dieser doppelten Zuordnung ist es das Problem und die Aufgabe des Betrachters sich selbst zu verorten. Es entsteht ein kybernetisches System über drei Positionen: Betrachter - Fotofigur - Wiesenpflanzen. Die unabschließbare Dynamik dieses Systems bildet die dialogische Struktur einer neuen Perspektive, in der der Betrachter über seinen Standpunkt selbst entscheidet. Perspektive gerät hier nicht zu symbolischer Ausübung von Herrschaft durch das Bild. Das Bild stellt die Standpunkte in Frage. Die Konstituierung von Perspektive geschieht in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Betrachter. Das kann nur gelingen, wenn dieser die Gegenüberstellung mit Thomas Eller (als Figur) annimmt und sich vergleicht. Nun ist klar, warum Thomas Eller selbst dort steht. Er ist der Prüfstein für den Betrachter und die Aufforderung: Stellen Sie Sich den Dingen! Vilém Flusser sagt das so: „Wenn Ich als das erkannt wird, zu dem andere Du sagen (wenn Selbsterkenntnis als Folge des Anerkennens der anderen erkannt wird), dann wird die Unterscheidung zwischen Erkennen (Kognition) und Anerkennen (Rekognition) hinfällig werden: Kunst und Wissenschaft werden dann als politische Disziplinen angesehen werden müssen. Um dies auf die Spitze zu treiben: wenn wir uns selbst als Funktion aller anderen erkennen, und alle anderen als unsere eigenen Funktionen, dann wird Verantwortung jenen Stellenwert einnehmen müssen, der bisher von individueller Freiheit besetzt ist. Und nicht mehr der Diskurs, sondern der Dialog wird die künftige Kultur strukturieren, also nicht mehr der Fortschritt, sondern gegenseitige Begegnung.

THE - Selbst (mit großem Rasenstück), 1992, 360 x 570 x 120 cm, Perspektive (und wir denken dabei natürlich sofort an Zentralperspektive) ist heute überhaupt kein Thema. Alles scheint klar zu sein. Dennoch darüber zu sprechen, muß begründet sein. Daß es in der Geschichte auch schon andere Konzeptionen der bildhaften Darstellung von Raum gab, ist uns nicht gerade sehr bewußt. Zumeist halten wir antike Raumdarstellungen für mißlungen. Die zugrundeliegende Vereinbarung über die Konzeption der Raumdarstellung halten wir üblicherweise für natürlich und verkennen dabei deren Konstruiertheit. Zentralperspektive aber beruht auf bestimmten apriorischen Voraussetzungen. Wir stellen uns „das Bild als einen planen Durchschnitt durch die Sehpyramide vor, die dadurch entsteht, daß ich das Sehzentrum als eine Punkt behandle und diesen mit einzelnen charakteristischen Punkten des darzustellenden Raumgebildes verbinde.“1 Tatsächlich aber haben wir zwei bewegliche Augen mit sphärischem Augenhintergrund, nicht wie der Einäugige auf der Abbildung, der durch sein Fenster auf einen Raumkasten schaut. In dieser Versuchsanordnung kann der Zyklop mit dem Blindenstab seine Position nicht verändern, er würde sonst die ganze Konstruktion niederreißen. Bewegung aber ist Veränderung in der Zeit. Der Zyklop jedoch ist auf einen Ort gebannt und kennt keine Zeit. Damit ist der rationale, d. h. unendlich stetige, homogene Raum erfunden. Es ist der Systemraum der Mathematik, in dem derer Gesetze unabhängig von der Zeit gültig sind. In der Renaissance, als diese Perspektive erfunden wurde, sah man die Welt durch ein solches Fenster. Die Zentralperspektive bewirkte eine Beschleunigung des Raumes (imperiale? Expansion) auf den Fluchtpunkt zu und in ihm einen Stillstand der Zeit (Zentralismus)2. Der Fluchtpunkt der Perspektivtheorie entspricht dem Herrschaftssitz des Stadtfürsten. Man hat die Welt durch ein Fenster (Bilderrahmen) geordnet und beherrscht. Etwas von dieser Autorität spürt man auch heute noch als Fotograf. Die Camera Obscura ist die technische Materialisierung dieser Auffassung von Perspektive (sie ist sozusagen eingebaut). Beim Blick durch die Kamera scheint Alles auf mich zuzustreben. Mit diesem Kasten kann ich die Welt festhalten (das ist das, was der Herrscher tut), was so etwas wie portabler Imperialismus ist. Wie läßt sich Weltbezug ohne totalistische, zentralistische Perspektive herstellen? Es war der Künstler Albrecht Dürer, der in der Renaissance die maßgeblichen Grundlagen der Perspektive erarbeitete. Er entwickelte nach seiner Italienreise, den Apparat des zentralperspektivischen Systemraums. Die Arbeit THE Selbst (mit großem Rasenstück) bezieht sich auf das Aquarell Das große Rasenstück von Albrecht Dürer als kunsthistorischem Referenzpunkt. Thomas Eller nimmt seine Italienreise zum Anlaß der Beschäftigung mit dem Problem der Perspektiven. Zwölf farbige Großfotos von Wiesenpflanzen, auf Aluminium aufgezogen, werden durch eine Aluminiumkonstruktion in eine Position gebracht, in der sie räumlich gestaffelt vor der Wand schweben. Davor steht eine s/w-Fotofigur von Thomas Eller. Die Größe der gesamten Installation ist ca. 600 cm in der Breite, 350 cm in der Höhe und 100 cm in der Tiefe. Läßt sich unser heutiges Interesse an den Dingen noch mit den Mitteln der Zentralperspektive beschreiben? - Nein! Die Dinge erscheinen uns heute ganz anders. Sie sind nicht mehr kohärent in Raum geordnet, sondern immer von je partikularem Interesse. Wir sehen die Mikrostrukturen an; suchen nach den jeweiligen Eigenschaften. Der Zugriff auf die Dinge ist immer relational; durch technische Vermittlung, die die Gegenstände interpretiert, erscheinen sie erst. Das Ergebnis der Erfahrung ist abhängig von der Zeit, dem Ort und der Art der Untersuchung. Diese Parameter aber sind immer andere. Die Perspektive heute ist polyvalent. Das Interesse der Arbeit Thomas Ellers ist, diese Kontextualität der Dinge am Beispiel eines Wiesenstücks zu zeigen. Mit technischer Vermittlung durch den Fotoapparat entstehen Bilder, die, ausgeschnitten und auf Aluminium kaschiert, die Vorstellung eines Wiesenstücks aus einem Dutzend Blickwinkeln zu je einem diskreten Zeitpunkt (je auf eine Pflanze) synthetisieren. Durch das Ausschneiden der Bildobjekte wird der Fotografie auf subversive Weise der monokulare, zentralistische Systemraum wieder genommen, den der Fotoapparat vorher erzeugt. Fotografie wird hier paradoxal benutzt. Das Faktum des Ausschneidens läßt nicht auf eine gebrochene, gesplitterte Bildwelt schließen. Nicht das Bild wird kritisiert, sondern der Bildraum (somit die Perspektive auf Welt) ist in Frage gestellt. Die Bilder ohne Raum werden als absolute Objekte neugeordnet und finden einen neuen Ort im Ausstellungs-Raum. Daher ist das daraus entstehende Bild auch ohne Rahmen. Er wird sowohl in technischer, als auch in erkenntnistheoretischer Hinsicht durch die komplexe, technisch ausgefeilte Hintergrundkonstruktion aus Aluminiumtafeln und -profilen ersetzt. Die Konstruktion des Blicks der Perspektiven wird deutlich. Dadurch wird das erkenntnistheoretische Problem, wie sich ausdifferenzierte Einzelwahrnehmungen überhaupt noch zu einem sinnvollen Gesamtbild zusammenfügen lassen, ebenso angesprochen, wie die Frage der Ökologie, welche Faktoren die jeweiligen Kreisläufe bestimmen und ob sich diese in summa beschreiben lassen. Daß sich die Brüche zwischen den jeweiligen Einzelwahrnehmungen nicht glätten lassen, scheint mir eine der wichtigsten Erkenntnisse, die die neue Perspektive konstituieren. Es ist wichtig, dieses Nebeneinander dennoch im Disparaten zusammenzuhalten. Der Ort an dem dies geschieht, ist der Erfahrende selbst. Das ist der Grund für die Fotofigur (ein Selbstportrait des Künstlers), die im Vordergrund steht. Sie bildet sozusagen die erkenntnistheoretische Folie, auf der die Arbeit sich abbildet und sich dem Betrachter weitervermittelt. Denn die Frage, wer das ist? - Thomas Eller, der Autor, der sich in das Bild als Vermittler hineinstellt - ist nicht beantwortbar. Es ist nicht die romantische Bildkonzeption eines C. D. Friedrich, der mit seinen Rückenansichten noch immer an das Paradigma der Zentralperspektive gebunden ist (der Mönch sieht in das Meer hinein); es dreht sich im Gegenteil das Bild um und sieht den Betrachter an. Es geht hier nicht darum, eine Person vorzustellen, zu sehr abstrahiert sich das Schwarz-weiß der Figur vor dem farbigen Hintergrund und wird zu einem reinen Maßstab für die Wiesenpflanzen. Sie sind nicht mehr nur einfach groß in Bezug auf den Betrachter, für den die Situation paradox ist: Er ist sehr groß in Bezug auf die neunzig Zentimeter hohe Fotofigur, aber sehr, sehr klein in Bezug auf die Wiesenpflanzen. In dieser doppelten Zuordnung ist es das Problem und die Aufgabe des Betrachters sich selbst zu verorten. Es entsteht ein kybernetisches System über drei Positionen: Betrachter - Fotofigur - Wiesenpflanzen. Die unabschließbare Dynamik dieses Systems bildet die dialogische Struktur einer neuen Perspektive, in der der Betrachter über seinen Standpunkt selbst entscheidet. Perspektive gerät hier nicht zu symbolischer Ausübung von Herrschaft durch das Bild. Das Bild stellt die Standpunkte in Frage. Die Konstituierung von Perspektive geschieht in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Betrachter. Das kann nur gelingen, wenn dieser die Gegenüberstellung mit Thomas Eller (als Figur) annimmt und sich vergleicht. Nun ist klar, warum Thomas Eller selbst dort steht. Er ist der Prüfstein für den Betrachter und die Aufforderung: Stellen Sie Sich den Dingen! Vilém Flusser sagt das so: „Wenn Ich als das erkannt wird, zu dem andere Du sagen (wenn Selbsterkenntnis als Folge des Anerkennens der anderen erkannt wird), dann wird die Unterscheidung zwischen Erkennen (Kognition) und Anerkennen (Rekognition) hinfällig werden: Kunst und Wissenschaft werden dann als politische Disziplinen angesehen werden müssen. Um dies auf die Spitze zu treiben: wenn wir uns selbst als Funktion aller anderen erkennen, und alle anderen als unsere eigenen Funktionen, dann wird Verantwortung jenen Stellenwert einnehmen müssen, der bisher von individueller Freiheit besetzt ist. Und nicht mehr der Diskurs, sondern der Dialog wird die künftige Kultur strukturieren, also nicht mehr der Fortschritt, sondern gegenseitige Begegnung."3 Sam Rose 1 Panofsky, Erwin (1924/25): Perspektive als „symbolische Form“. in: ders., Aufsätze zu Grundfragen der Kunst. Berlin: Volker Spiess 1980 2 siehe auch: Virilio, Paul (1991): Echtzeit-Perspektiven. in: Joachimides, C. M. / Rosenthal, N. (Hrsg.), Metropolis. Stuttgart: Cantz, S. 61 3 Flusser, Vilém (1989): Gedächtnisse. in: Ars Electronica (Hrsg.), Philosophien der neuen Technologie. Berlin: Merve, S.54

THE Landschaft – SELBST (starkes Wetter Deutschland!), 1995, 350 x 580 x 60 cm

THE Landschaft – SELBST (starkes Wetter Deutschland!), 1995, 350 x 580 x 60 cm

THE @ gunpoint, 2000

THE @ gunpoint, 2000

THE objectile (wer isst THE?) zipped e, 2005, 19 x 195 x 12 cm

THE objectile (wer isst THE?) zipped e, 2005, 19 x 195 x 12 cm

THE incident (car crash), 2008, 160 x 500 x 26 cm This trilogy of works by Thomas Eller describes events that actually took place in the life of the artist and more or less brought him to the brink of death. Each of the thematic groups is comprised of one or more artworks. The artist describes these experiences as moments of loss of control in which the illusion of sovereignty and agency is being dissolved. In its stead a perception utmost clarity is instated that is often experienced as if in slow motion. In1989 Thomas Eller was pushed against a subway train by a mentally ill person. In 2008, he collided with a central crash barrier on a German Highway at a speed of 210 km/h. Nobody was hurt. In 2010 a wave in the Caribbean sea thrust him down head first onto the floor of the ocean. He suffered a trauma to his spine that left him completely paralyzed for a short time. All three moments relate to the body of the artist beyond the limits of control. The artist relays the different physical states of his body during and after the incidents through spatially and temporally complex images and sculptures. The longest lasting change to the corporeal condition of body was sustained during the last accident. The very different artistic solutions presented speak of a longer process of coping and healing. “The different physical states require different visual solutions,” says the artists. The different qualities must express themselves differently. Here it is important that the different speeds and temperatures, the different intensities convey themselves to the viewer in such a way that they communicate the physical experience of this incident and that the ultimately become sculptural experiences. Sam Rose, 2011

THE incident (car crash), 2008, 160 x 500 x 26 cm This trilogy of works by Thomas Eller describes events that actually took place in the life of the artist and more or less brought him to the brink of death. Each of the thematic groups is comprised of one or more artworks. The artist describes these experiences as moments of loss of control in which the illusion of sovereignty and agency is being dissolved. In its stead a perception utmost clarity is instated that is often experienced as if in slow motion. In1989 Thomas Eller was pushed against a subway train by a mentally ill person. In 2008, he collided with a central crash barrier on a German Highway at a speed of 210 km/h. Nobody was hurt. In 2010 a wave in the Caribbean sea thrust him down head first onto the floor of the ocean. He suffered a trauma to his spine that left him completely paralyzed for a short time. All three moments relate to the body of the artist beyond the limits of control. The artist relays the different physical states of his body during and after the incidents through spatially and temporally complex images and sculptures. The longest lasting change to the corporeal condition of body was sustained during the last accident. The very different artistic solutions presented speak of a longer process of coping and healing. “The different physical states require different visual solutions,” says the artists. The different qualities must express themselves differently. Here it is important that the different speeds and temperatures, the different intensities convey themselves to the viewer in such a way that they communicate the physical experience of this incident and that the ultimately become sculptural experiences. Sam Rose, 2011

THE incident (car crash @ 210 km/h) (detail)

THE incident (car crash @ 210 km/h) (detail)

THE incident (car crash @ 210 km/h) (detail)

THE incident (car crash @ 210 km/h) (detail)

THE incident (car crash @ 210 km/h) (detail)

THE incident (car crash @ 210 km/h) (detail)

THE incident (train ride 1989), 2011, 125 x 450 x 30 cm This trilogy of works by Thomas Eller describes events that actually took place in the life of the artist and more or less brought him to the brink of death. Each of the thematic groups is comprised of one or more artworks. The artist describes these experiences as moments of loss of control in which the illusion of sovereignty and agency is being dissolved. In its stead a perception utmost clarity is instated that is often experienced as if in slow motion. In1989 Thomas Eller was pushed against a subway train by a mentally ill person. In 2008, he collided with a central crash barrier on a German Highway at a speed of 210 km/h. Nobody was hurt. In 2010 a wave in the Caribbean sea thrust him down head first onto the floor of the ocean. He suffered a trauma to his spine that left him completely paralyzed for a short time. All three moments relate to the body of the artist beyond the limits of control. The artist relays the different physical states of his body during and after the incidents through spatially and temporally complex images and sculptures. The longest lasting change to the corporeal condition of body was sustained during the last accident. The very different artistic solutions presented speak of a longer process of coping and healing. “The different physical states require different visual solutions,” says the artists. The different qualities must express themselves differently. Here it is important that the different speeds and temperatures, the different intensities convey themselves to the viewer in such a way that they communicate the physical experience of this incident and that the ultimately become sculptural experiences. Sam Rose, 2011

THE incident (train ride 1989), 2011, 125 x 450 x 30 cm This trilogy of works by Thomas Eller describes events that actually took place in the life of the artist and more or less brought him to the brink of death. Each of the thematic groups is comprised of one or more artworks. The artist describes these experiences as moments of loss of control in which the illusion of sovereignty and agency is being dissolved. In its stead a perception utmost clarity is instated that is often experienced as if in slow motion. In1989 Thomas Eller was pushed against a subway train by a mentally ill person. In 2008, he collided with a central crash barrier on a German Highway at a speed of 210 km/h. Nobody was hurt. In 2010 a wave in the Caribbean sea thrust him down head first onto the floor of the ocean. He suffered a trauma to his spine that left him completely paralyzed for a short time. All three moments relate to the body of the artist beyond the limits of control. The artist relays the different physical states of his body during and after the incidents through spatially and temporally complex images and sculptures. The longest lasting change to the corporeal condition of body was sustained during the last accident. The very different artistic solutions presented speak of a longer process of coping and healing. “The different physical states require different visual solutions,” says the artists. The different qualities must express themselves differently. Here it is important that the different speeds and temperatures, the different intensities convey themselves to the viewer in such a way that they communicate the physical experience of this incident and that the ultimately become sculptural experiences. Sam Rose, 2011

THE objectile (wer isst THE?) zipped e, 2005

THE objectile (wer isst THE?) zipped e, 2005

THE individuEller 2007, 666 Figuren , Größe variabel

THE individuEller 2007, 666 Figuren , Größe variabel

THE individuEller 2007, 666 Figuren , Größe variabel

THE individuEller 2007, 666 Figuren , Größe variabel

THE individuEller 2007, 666 Figuren , Größe variabel

THE individuEller 2007, 666 Figuren , Größe variabel

THE zone – SELBST (1), 2010 baryta paper on dibond 210 x 75 x 3 cm

THE zone – SELBST (1), 2010 baryta paper on dibond 210 x 75 x 3 cm

Thomas „Kelvin“ Eller: 'The White Male Complex, No.2', 2013

Thomas „Kelvin“ Eller: 'The White Male Complex, No.2', 2013

THE white male complex #3: 49 Portraits, 2013

THE white male complex #3: 49 Portraits, 2013

THE white male complex #3: 49 Portraits, 2013

THE white male complex #3: 49 Portraits, 2013

Thomas Eller, The White Male Complex, #4 A) THE THE (mosaik), 2013 Mosaik auf Plexiglass 42 x 42 cm B) THE near/far, 1, 2013 Mosaik auf Holz 30 x 42 cm C) THE ...... , 2013 Mosaik auf Holz 51,5 x 39 cm D) THE thumbnail 3, 2013 Mosaik auf Holz 59,5 x 42 E) THE thumbnail 1, 2013 Mosaik auf Holz 42 x 59,5 F) THE thumbnail 4, 2013 Mosaik auf Holz 42 x 59,5 G) THE screenshot I, 2013 Mosaik auf Holz 41 x 58 cm H) THE thumbnail 2, 2013 Mosaik auf Holz 59,5 x 42

Thomas Eller, The White Male Complex, #4 A) THE THE (mosaik), 2013 Mosaik auf Plexiglass 42 x 42 cm B) THE near/far, 1, 2013 Mosaik auf Holz 30 x 42 cm C) THE ...... , 2013 Mosaik auf Holz 51,5 x 39 cm D) THE thumbnail 3, 2013 Mosaik auf Holz 59,5 x 42 E) THE thumbnail 1, 2013 Mosaik auf Holz 42 x 59,5 F) THE thumbnail 4, 2013 Mosaik auf Holz 42 x 59,5 G) THE screenshot I, 2013 Mosaik auf Holz 41 x 58 cm H) THE thumbnail 2, 2013 Mosaik auf Holz 59,5 x 42

Thomas Eller, The White Male Complex, #4

Thomas Eller, The White Male Complex, #4

Thomas Eller, The White Male Complex, #4

Thomas Eller, The White Male Complex, #4

Thomas Eller, The White Male Complex, #4

Thomas Eller, The White Male Complex, #4

THE selbst (endgame), 2012

THE selbst (endgame), 2012

THE selbst (endgame)#2, 2012

THE selbst (endgame)#2, 2012

performance at the 1. Dao Jiao Art Festival, 2016 (with Cao Yu): THE white male complex #15 (endgames) mahjong

performance at the 1. Dao Jiao Art Festival, 2016 (with Cao Yu): THE white male complex #15 (endgames) mahjong

THE white male complex #11 (endgames) – drop, 2014

THE white male complex #11 (endgames) – drop, 2014

performance during

performance during "Chercher le Garçon", MACVAL Paris, 2016

performance during

performance during "Chercher le Garçon", MACVAL Paris, 2016

THE heart_out, 2016

THE heart_out, 2016

THE heart_out, 2016

THE heart_out, 2016

THE white male complex (endgames), no.2

MOMENTUM worldwide, Berlin
June, 2014

THE white male complex, no.5 (lost…), 2014

"Shot on Lampedusa in 2014, on the beach infamous for its migrant traffic, Eller lives the plight of so many who wash up on that shore. Eternally looping at the cusp of life and death, this work leaves the viewer feeling oddly complicit in one man's surreal struggle. Yet while one white man submerged in a suit is surreal, thousands of African migrants are our reality. Like Isaac Julien's 2010 work Ten Thousand Waves, on the deaths of Chinese migrant cockle pickers on the shores of the UK, Eller in his own language tackles the watery deaths of migrant workers as a sadly universal suffering, devoid of markers of place or time." Rachel Rits-Volloch

presented here:

LOST - an exhibition with Anina Brisolla, Övgü Özen and Thomas Eller
a cura di
Jan Kage

BOCS, Catania
March 8, 2014

PANDAMONIUM, Media Art from Shanghai
curated by Li Zhenhua and David Elliott

MOMENTUM worldwide, Berlin
May 9, 2014

THE White Male Complex, No. 8

THE white male complex, No. 12 (who want’s to be a zillionaire?!), 2015 (15 sec teaser clip)

URAL Bienniale 2016

THE ANTIPODES – TUANJIEHUGONGYUAN on dragon boat day 2016

You are invited to come on June 9th, day of the Dragon Boat Festival, to Tuanjiehu Park for Sayizheng III.

Tuanjiehu Park is situated on Beijing’s East 3rd Ring Road. In 1958, the local government mobilized the masses to dig a kiln pit to form a lake, and named it “Tuanjiehu” (Solidarity Lake). Built in the style of Jiangnan gardens, this people’s park opened to the public in 1986. At the time several major Beijing cultural institutions were located nearby, as well as their staff dormitories and family quarters. Now it can be seen at a bird’s-eye view from Chaoyang District’s CBD concrete forest. In the past 50 years, Tuanjiehu Park’s recreational activities still retain a hint of socialist utopia idealism, while other public and private actions have either become history, or are concealed in personal memories.

Sayizheng is an exhibition series of artistic interventions in the city’s public places, and was initiated by artist Zhao Tianji and Zoro Feigl in 2012. “Sayizheng” (throwing a fit) comes from a disorder similar to sleepwalking, where patients experience temporary hysteria in their sleep and wake up without any knowledge of what has happened. Beijingers use this term to mock the restless who wander the streets aimlessly in the night. A group of people enters a specified living site at a prearranged time, whereas the energies of individuals temporarily come together and transform the space. With the “strolling strategy” in mind, the audience comes to wander, then exits before waking up.

Sayizheng I took place on a minus five degrees winter night in 2012, around Doujiao Hutong in Dongcheng District. The 18th National Congress has just passed and the atmosphere was tense inside the city. 22 artists reversed day and night as they slipped into the hutongs after dark, and the audience searched for art under dim streetlights, amid accumulated objects in the streets.

Sayizheng II took place on a stormy summer day in 2013 inside Rundeli Market, the biggest open market within the 2nd Ring Road. From 9am to 9pm, 16 works appeared and disappeared in different corners of the complex. A few art audiences disguised themselves as shoppers, while the majority were people from the neighborhood who became absorbed momentarily by strange sights, and soon after flowed back into the bustling crowd. In recent years, Beijing’s local markets have been gradually demolished and replaced by small food stands, Rundeli Market was closed in fall 2014.

Sayizheng III will take place on June 9th Dragon Boat Festival, the 5th day of the 5th lunar month when the sun reaches its highest point in the sky. 25 invited artists will begin each of their projects at noon sharp, which will be documented by cellphones only. We cordially invite you all to Tuanjiehu Park to witness and document this day with your own cellphones.

6月9日是端午节,我们邀请你当天中午12点来团结湖公园参加撒癔症(三)。

团结湖公园位于北京东三环,1958年朝阳区政府发动群众挖旧窑坑成湖,故名“团结湖”。又经过多年开发,依照江南园林格局建成人民公园,并于1986年正式对游人开放。当时的公园周围是北京几大文化艺术机构,及其宿舍家属院。现在已被朝阳区CBD的混凝土森林所鸟瞰。几十年间,团结湖公园里具有社会主义乌托邦色彩的休闲娱乐活动仍然盛行,但也有一些曾经在这里发生过的公共活动、私人行为成为了历史、或者隐匿为个人记忆。

撒癔症是一个在城市公共地点进行艺术介入的展览系列,由艺术家赵天汲以及佐罗于2012年发起。“撒癔症”引申于与梦游相似的病症,患者在入睡后短暂抽风,醒来时却对夜间发生的事一概不知。北京人用它来调侃半夜三更四处闲逛的不安分子。一群人在指定的时间地点进入某个鲜活的场所,个体能量暂时结合并改变空间,而观众以“散步策略”前来游荡,梦醒前撤离。

撒癔症(一)发生在2012年零下五度的冬夜,东城区豆角胡同周边。十八大刚过,市区内气氛紧张。22位艺术家黑白颠倒,夜晚出动潜入胡同,观众在昏暗的路灯下和堆积的杂物中寻找艺术。

撒癔症(二)发生在2013年暴风雨的夏日,二环内最大的菜市——润得立市场。早9点到晚9点,16件作品在不同角落显现并消失。少数的艺术观众以买菜方式混入,多数是街坊邻里的男女老少,被异样的景象片刻吸引,随后便汇入喧闹的人流中。近些年北京市区菜市场被接连拆除,润得立市场已于2014年秋关闭。

撒癔症(三)将发生在6月9日端午节——农历五月五,太阳行至中天达到最高点。受邀的25位艺术家将在正午同时开始各自的项目,仅以手机进行记录。我们也诚邀各位届时来团结湖公园现场直击,并用自己的手机记录这一天。

THE white male complex no. 13 (Quis ut deus?), 2016

PLEASE LISTEN USING HEADPHONES!!! WOULD WORK OTHERWISE

„…if I were not, God would not be: that God is God, of that I am the cause. If I were not, God would not be God.“

„God doesn´t play dice“, Einstein famously said. Thomas Eller’s work THE white male complex (quis ut deus), 2016 negotiates the background radiation of an old universe that in the West stands largely abandoned. The recent wars in the Middle East however give rise again to the suppressed metaphysical residue of Western culture. “God is dead”, Nietzsche famously proclaimed, the corpse however remains unburied. We are currently experiencing the full impact of terror fuelled by the phantasies for almighty power of a self-proclaimed theocracy. What is the West’s answer to this?! – Countering ultra-conservative movements also in the West, Thomas Eller reminds us of a cultural tradition in the West that allows for a positive approach to the question of god. One that does not give itself to become a mundane power of authoritarian discern. One also that liberates the individual from the impositions by self-accredited worldly and spiritual leaders and instead creates an enlightened approach to the world: it is the mystical experience.
In his video, the artist himself reads „Beati pauperes spiritu, quoniam ipsorum est regnum caelorum”, a homily by Meister Eckhart. To the utmost horror for any orthodoxy, this sermon claims god’s origin to be the self. As such, this exhibition also sheds new light on the complete works of Thomas Eller who for the past 25 years has been concerning himself with the question of the SELF.

THE white male complex, #14 (becoming Chinese)

THE_white_male_complex(banana_song)

What is it about your studio space that inspires you?

when it is empty...

What sounds, scents and sights do you encounter while in your studio?

right now Beijing is my studio – just imagine... and I will tell you, it is differnt from what you think!

What is your favourite material to work with? How has your use of it evolved throughout your practice?

I use images created by cameras as material to create images starkly different in terms of the space-time continuum they originate from. If you want me to say this in simple works, I love breaking the camera.

What themes do you pursue?

thinking about this now – it has always been: THE white male complex

What advice has had the biggest impact on your career?

_ oh that had something to do with playing darts – and I was damn good at it!

If you could install your art absolutely anywhere, where would that be?

my own museum

If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?

of course that changes frequently. Now it would be: Hieronymus Bosch: Garden of Earthly Delights

If you weren´t an artist, what would you be doing?

oh, I´m doing it. I am at least three people simultaneously... hence: THE quantum self (btw. this is our future - forget identity politics)

What are your favourite places besides your studio?

the traditional old Beijng noodle place next to the worker´s stadium.


EXHIBITIONS

SOLO

2016

„Ritan Park“, Heiqiao, Beijing

2014

„49 Portraits. The White Male Complex, No.3“, SAVVY contemporary, Berlin

2013

„Thomas KELVIN Eller. The White Male Complex, No.2“,

show all

GROUP

2016

„Historicode“, Nanjing, China

„1st DaoJiao Art Festival“, Dong Guan, Guangdong, China

„1884 to 1945 – an artistic position“, National Art Gallery of Namibia, Windhoek

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WORKS IN COLLECTIONS

Aby Rosen, 22nd Century Acquisition, NY

Berlinische Galerie; Museum for Fine Art, Photography and Architecture

Carol Schuster Collection, NY

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AWARDS

Villa Romana Prize, Florence, 2000

Käthe-Kollwitz-Prize, Akademie der Künste Berlin, 2006

Karl Schmidt-Rottluff Prize, 1996

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EDUCATION (detailed)

1985 – 1986: studies fine art, HdK Berlin, forced dismission

1986 - 1989: studies sciences of religion, philosophy und art history, Freie Universität Berlin


For more information and inquiries about this artist, please contact Artitious by emailing to artist@artitious.com

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