Felix von der Weppen, * 1987 in Bonn, lives and works in Berlin
Exhibitions & Film Festivals
2015, 03 — kontinuum, SPRING/BREAK Art Show – Yulia Topchiy, New York, US
2014, 12 — kontinuum, Patrick Parrish Gallery, New York, US
2013, 05 — Ornament & Concealment, Berlin, Germany
2012, 09 — Façade Video Festival 2012, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
2012, 05 — Festival für Klang und Bewegte Visuelle Kunst, Hannover, Germany
2012, 03 — Traverse Vidéo, Toulouse, France
2012, 02 — Switch 2012, Video-Art Festival, Nenagh, Ireland
2011, 11 — Beautiful Art – Public Talk with Bildetage, Kuhturm, Leipzig, Germany
2011, 11 — Fucking Good Art, LindeNow Festival. Leipzig, Germany
2011, 11 — PNEM Sound Art Festival, Netherlands
2011, 10 — SIMULTAN FESTIVAL #7 – „Imaginary“ Timisoara, Romania
2007, 12 — Group Show „Player One vs. Player Two“ Färberei, Munich, Germany
2006, 08 — Group Show „Essen für‘s Auge“ Max-Planck-Institut, Munich, Germany
2010 (Film), 2014 (Book and Installation)
3 wood boxes with 27” Monitors
35” x 45” x 10” + feet
Video Edition 8/10
2 Artist Proof with Boxes
3:53 min loop
192 pages + 6 inserts/ 8.25”x 6”
Includes sleeve with blind emboss
Sewn bound & offset printed
Edition of 500/ Numbered
Concept, Filmography, Editing, Design, Text
Concept, Filmography, Editing, Design
kontinuum is the idea of an unavoidable continuous repetition of three psychological states: Anticipation, Manifestation and Reflection. The work explores our relationship to impermanence and transitoriness.
In order to lay out this arc, we invited a dancer to give a performance confined only by a set of conditions: walls, paper and a circle of graphite powder on the floor. During the performance the dancer touches the graphite and leaves marks on the ground. Each step is improvised and builds the ground she walks on. She continuously leaves new traces and overrides previous ones as the graphite leaves marks on her. The book, encases the dancer’s traces chronologically. The video splits the three stages into three screens: While the center screen shows her movement through all the stages, the screen on the left anticipates the upcoming performance and the one on the right reflects on the performance itself.
During the stage of Anticipation, we (as humans) experience the most obvious form of desire: Something that grabs our attention and draws us in. Something that both, guides us and drags us towards a point in the future. Lacan’s ideas seemed very fitting for the overall concept: He suggested that we are born with an irreducible lack that can never be filled. While we can never fulfill this longing, we might reach objects that stand for it only symbolically: the person or thing that we assume will complete us.
Manifestation is the stage of fulfilling this desire. During this stage we are able to fully focus on the present – making it happen (whatever it might be) – actions and thoughts seem to align perfectly. In its most intense form, this stage can portray what is often called an “Event” in continental philosophy – a transgression of the already known. Alain Badiou describes “an Event [as] a rapture in personal or collective history” 1. He states the Subject itself is something a group or individual only gets to touch, but can never hold on to. Like a cloud of intensity one goes through, fully identifies with and loses again. For him there are only amorous, artistic, political and scientific Subjects, or rather „a relation between an Event and the world“ 2. After an Event has occurred, there is no way back into the naive state that existed before the rapture. Any such attempt inevitably leads to nostalgia or an active denial of the past. This theory is a good explanation for why we think, we come close to the feeling of being complete. Badiou suggests it is not us as individuals, but rather we feel complete because we become entirely absorbed with what we do: To the extent of becoming indistinguishable from our actions for a moment. This stage is an absolute gain as well as absolute loss because of the emptiness it leaves us with.
When either the strong feeling of presence, the Event, the Subject one identified with, or rather the object of desire is gone, a void sets in until a new desire has been formed. Depending on the intensity of this state, one has not only lost the object of desire, but also the feeling one identified with that lead one there. Bataille gave the first of the two the term “la petite mort” (the little death), subsequently the latter would be the big death – one has to reinvent oneself entirely after such an Event.
The stage of Reflection is the handling of the loss described above. The focus here lies on the past. Remaining traces and artifacts become highly seductive because they seemingly hold the potential to solidify the impermanent. But this remains a symbolic effort. The repetition of the act is another strategy to deal with the loss and might bring some relief, but both, repeating an Event or simply holding onto the stage of Manifestation, seem to be impossible by nature. As Heraclitus said “You can never step into the same river twice”.
Embracing the Arc
We were aware that capturing this performance on film and paper, would remain purely symbolic. We willfully followed this desire to do both, embrace and reveal the arc simultaneously.
We emphasized the overall spatial-temporal and symbolic instability, especially in the installation – the last part of our work and our final stage of reflection – by trying to point at the sort of invisible vessel the kontinuum moves in. This vessel can only be described in negative terms: The inability to do anything beyond the contingency and the inability to point at it from an outside perspective. The work is in all it’s elements both, a symbol for the arc, as well the material remain or trace of a multitude of such arcs.
So are we doomed to Nietzsche’s eternal return, an endless repetition of the same, or a possibility for progress, as Hegel and his materialist successors suggested? A buddhist would say no to the latter and reject desire entirely. Lacan in turn stated, there is some kind of emancipatory potential in the moment when the emptiness lies bare open to the individual. This might not change the condition of feeling trapped but certainly changes the way one relates to the condition. By pointing to the beauty of the movement of the arc as well as it’s contingency we aim to underline the following question: If there is no way out, what is the right way in? If we are aware of the kontinuum and have lost or maybe transgressed permanence as an object of desire, what would the subsequent arc look like?
1, 2) Badiou, Alain. „The Subject of Art“ in The Symptom – http://www.lacan.com/symptom6_articles/badiou.html
Weil ich meinen Arm
Samt meiner Hand
In die kühle Masse beugen kann
Die man Welt nennt
Wo ich einsam und sterblich
Meine Kälte ertaste
Dort baumelt mein Lächeln
Glimmend und karg
2011 – 2014
Concept, Installation, Research, Editing
Concept, Installation, Research, Web Development, Text
Architecture is often used and invoked as the central hallmark of modernization. Cities around the world are rapidly redefining themselves through their architecture in a bid to capture some part of that elusive essence that is “the modern city”. Simultaneously, the attempt to define a local identity in the midst of an international architectural identity leads to a strange emphasis on conservation. Despite this, the materials and tools used to construct and preserve them mainly stay the same. Physically and symbolically they make up one of the most constant elements to our time. Ironically it is structures, ones that were, in and of themselves, intended as a transitional state, who act as relics of a perpetual present within the constantly shifting modern urban environment.
In the midst of modernization, taking the risk of letting go appears to be an almost radical act. Ornament and Concealment aimed to lead the viewer into the very nature of this contradiction, creating an atmosphere of shelter and defenselessness. Instead of a backup preventing a possible future blackout, the installation directed the gaze to a black box of an accident which never happened, but continuously happens.
The complete text can be found here:
2012Studio Dirt, Bottle of Coke
2011 –Stucco, Photography (C-Print)
The face was sculpted by hand following the characteristics of several living people I have met, alongside those of L’inconnue de la Seine and Millais’ Ophelia. Replicas of the face were placed in puddles after heavy rainfalls. Ideally the puddles were not spacious enough to encase an entire human body. Disrupted by the sculpture, the mirrored sky then produced a virtual space below the city’s surface. Casts have been installed and abandoned in several places throughout Europe.
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Verantwortlich für den Inhalt nach § 55 Abs. 2 RStV:
Felix von der Weppen
All work depicted is copyright © Felix von der Weppen, 2009 – 2014
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