all colors agree in the dark

Kunsthaus Erfurt, 2015

photography on wallpaper, archival pigment prints, metallic paint, video projection, photo collage on overhead projector, mirrors,, photography on fabric, car bonnet

Form follows fiction and function

The title of Astrid Busch’s exhibition, all colors agree in the dark (a play on the expression “all cats are grey in the dark”), points to the genuine importance of light, without which the world could not be visually experienced. Thus a thematic question arises as soon as one enters the exhibition: What happens to colors and shapes when they come into contact with light, when they pass into the light from the shade, when they are placed properly in the spotlight? It is not for nothing that photography – which, in all its expressive variety, is the artist’s main concern – literally means “drawing with light.”
Busch’s work is fundamentally site-specific. Materials taken from her daily working life and recombined in the studio, photographed and digitally manipulated, are constantly entering into dialogue with the exhibition space. She takes up the architectural and atmospheric qualities of her location and presents them, with the help of deconstructive methods (alienation, fragmentation, recontextualization), in a new light. For her solo debut at Kunsthaus Erfurt, she has developed a dramaturgy of presentation that transforms the entire building into a sort of enterable display that draws viewers in from their first glimpse through the front windows.
The artist’s photographic works function as postmodern architectural collages in which props and materials, illuminated to varying degrees, converge: silvery gleaming metal, glittering glass, wood frames, industrial-looking struts, colorful geometries. The photographs are mounted on various surfaces, sometimes pasted or projected directly onto the walls of the space. They include neatly framed pieces, hung in the familiar way of the prototypical exhibition context, as well as pictures casually leaned against the wall, giving the impression they have either just been delivered or are already waiting to be shipped back out. Posters recall advertising banners from the city streets; floor-to-ceiling photo wallpaper evokes rituals of decoration normally conducted in living rooms. Prints hung like curtains ultimately reveal the gallery context for what, in the truest sense, it is: a performance stage, where art is put on show. Gathered under the roof of the apartment house and art gallery are all the stylistic devices that transform our public and private lives into a space of illusion. Using installation-like settings, directional wall markings, and movable projection and lighting systems, Astrid Busch has conceived her exhibition as an enormous system of references, allowing the labyrinthine old building that is the Kunsthaus to be experienced as a dynamic optical illusion. Handing us a multiperspectival script, the artist involves us all the more deeply in her dramaturgy of overlapping representations and improvisations, fictions and functions.