For the inauguration of its pop-up project space, ND projects is pleased to announce a solo exhibition by the German artist Thomas Pöhler (b. 1966). This first exhibition of Pöhler’s work in the UK includes three work series: Beside the site-specific installation ‘The Devonian Window’, which has especially been comprised for the exhibition and its space, the exhibition features works from the photography series “Steinaquarelle” (stone water colours) and the print series ‘Puzzling Fludd’. All three bodies of work emphasize the artist’s continuous engagement with materials such as sand and stone and pursue the dialogue between man and matter.
For the installation ‘The Devonian Window’ Pöhler has emerged himself into the geological history and heritage of Great Britain. Building up on his recent studies of sand, the artist has travelled to the South West coast of England to study and collect a specific type of red sand (often referred to as New Red Sandstone) that is characteristic for the region of Devon. This region is also the eponym for the geological period of the Devonian. Having formed millions of years ago, the sand bears witness to previous landscapes but is also the basis for future formations. Inspired by the colourful intensity of this sand, Pöhler’s installation is both a visual and conceptual encounter with the geological foundations of the UK.
The series ‘Steinaquarelle’ (stone water colours) is based on photographs taken in the Ticino in the Swiss-Italian Alps. By sprinkling water with sponges, brushes, and fingers on rocks that have evolved over thousands of years the artist responds with partially spontaneous, partially planned interventions to the structure and formation of these rocks. The camera captures the experimental interventions and juxtaposes the effects of permanence and fugacity, causality and chance, laws and free decisions, which eventually culminate in the tension between nature and art.
For the print series ‘Puzzling Fludd’, Pöhler decomposes the material of granite into its mineral associations. The process of decoding the material structure in a purely scientific approach soon reaches its limits and subjective elements such as intuition, observation, and perception combine artistic with scientific practice. The renaissance philosopher Robert Fludd, on whom the title of this work series is based upon, has intensively focused on the cycle of creation and the questions of substance and matter in his opus ‘De Macrocosmi Principiis’. While Fludd’s graphics follow a linear idea of creation and evolution by going from darkness to light, Pöhler sees the cycle as both a source of origin and evolution: the works reveal that composition and decomposition are not mutually exclusive but depend on each other and co-exist side by side.
All three series in this exhibition underline Pöhler’s artistic endeavour towards a concept of nature that is strongly embedded in the thought of the 18th and 19th century: The possibility of a connection between art and science in the tradition of figures such as the British artist and writer John Ruskin or the German artist and physiologist Carl Gustav Carus. This approach towards a holistic view of art and science, in which subjective observations and perceptions coincide with objective measurements has often been neglected and disregarded in recent times. While the works offer an elaborate conceptualism, they also reveal the keen observational eye and intuition of the artist. Pöhler achieves an aesthetic that overcomes the boundaries of formation and deformation, figuration and abstraction and presents a multifaceted approach in this exhibition.
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