On entering Galerie koal the viewer is immediately struck by the precise installation, reduced formal vocabulary and sheer presence of the works on show. Closer inspection of the pieces reveals that only two colours, two materials – oil and marker pen – and three different lines were employed in the making of the large canvases and the delicate wall drawing. It then becomes clear that this exhibition is driven by concept and process; the notion of repetition appears to be key to Arne Schreiber’s practice. Repetition is a universally valid principle, central in the states of being and becoming, movement and repose, flux and permanence, difference and identity. Repetition is seen as a fundamental part of psychological assimilation processes, as central to human learning and functional patterning as well as the basis of memory production. Repetition not only allows us to experience the world, the “eternal recurrence of the same“ is itself a recurring theme in philosophical and artistic debate.
Arne Schreiber investigates the central terms of this discourse – identity, time and difference – as well as the possibility of repetition within his artistic practice. During a residency at Schloss Wiepersdorf in Brandenburg, far removed from the pressures of the city and surrounded by forest, Schreiber discovered that branches could act as a surrogate for his hitherto irreplaceable rulers. This was prompted by the artist’s observation that two hand-drawn geometric lines – for example two straight ones – could never be identical; these unavoidable differences have been a feature of his art for a number of years. Up to this point his experimentations had exclusively employed lines drawn with the help of a ruler. The exhibition zwei # zwei, however, shows two works featuring red lines against a pale background alongside two black and white ruler works. The lines of canvases #595 and #596, as well as those of the wall drawing #598 WZ, are uneven in contrast and were drawn with a branch instead of a ruler.
In these almost identical red and white canvases Arne Schreiber attempts not only to recreate the same lines, but to replicate the image as a whole. He thus attempted to produce the second work under exactly the same conditions as the first, using the same red oil paint, the same branch, the same canvas and the same painterly process. For Schreiber the act of painting is very physically intense. After days of meticulously preparing the conditions and materials, the artist works on the pieces whilst they hang on a wall. Actually he does not add lines to his canvases, but removes paint, or rather scrapes it off the canvas gradually and painstakingly with a dried brush to reveal a meticulously precise rhythm with the lines. The resulting variations, subject both to differences in material and in the conditions of their making, are the articulation of the impossibility of repetition; they draw our attention to the limits of reproducibility of human expression.
Text (abstract) by Christian Ganzenberg / 2015