On «Es dreht sich die Welt» with Lin Olschowka, Amadeus Vogelsang and Mia Sanchez
Zebras visually confuse and mislead predators with their stripes. Their regular stripes break up the outline of singular individuals, blurring their boundaries within the herd. A potential predator’s ability to pick its dinner is confounded by their inability to separate one from the pack.
Zebra stripes on asphalt contradict this as their high contrast pattern is designed to help drivers distinguish pedestrian crossings.
Within an artist‘s oeuvre or among a group of artists, I am drawn to patterns across works. Themes appear to me as visual rhymes. Here we are presented with works by Lin Olschowka, Amadeus Vogelsang, and Mia Sanchez.
Worry about whispers behind your back
Worry about prying eyes
Worry about pick pockets
Furrows in a brow give expression to worry. Repeated worry marks the brow with stripes exposing the experience of age, reminding us of our common mortal fate. Furrows in a field stripe the earth, marking a new beginning where seeds will grow fresh and new.
Stripes can be understood as a rhyming structure – each line or band resembles the next. One perceives the rhyme as a ‚whole‘ because of some resemblance between its parts.
Visual representation takes hold of our senses by means of resemblances.
Stripes on a captains sleeve confer experience and suggest rank. A corporal has more stripes than a sergeant but less then a major? Truly I don‘t know, generals have stars. A cat basking in the sun has more stripes than a whole army put together and is less concerned with rank and position.
There is a risk that, if I lean too heavily on rhyme as I am often tempted, artworks sacrifice their autonomy becoming as indistinct as zebras in a herd.
In his chapters on art history, Pliny the Elder tells the story of Zeuxis and Parrhasius. Zeuxis, the master of painting life-like representation, challenges the up-start pupil Parrhasius to a competition to see who can render the better image. When the time comes to reveal their paintings, Zeuxis shows Parrhasius that he has painted grapes so cleverly that some birds have just landed and are attempting to eat them. Satisfied with his effort Zeuxis asks Parrhasius to show what he has done. Parrhasius leads Zeuxis into a chamber with a curtain. Assuming that Parrhasius‘ work is concealed behind the curtain, Zeuxis calls on Parrhasius to draw back the curtain. To his surprise, Parrhasius states «but alas I have painted the curtain on the wall!» Defeated, Zeuxis claims that «you are the better artist for I have only tricked the birds but you have fooled me, the artist.»
Lin Olschowka (*1995, Münstleringen CH) lives and works in Karlsruhe.
Amadeus Vogelsang (*1995, Zurich, CH) lives and works between Zurich and Berlin.
Mia Sanchez (*1988, Sevilla, ES) lives and works in Basel.