The corporeal merges with flora and fauna in Tschäpe‘s mixed media work 'Girl Watching a Bird on the Horizon' (2015). A riotous play of sensual, cascading markings unfurl across the 3 x 4 meter canvas. Elegantly biomorphic looping lines evoke the female form rapturously multiplied ad infinitum, a swarm in flight, or exuberant jungle overgrowth. Despite the work‘s title, there is nary a physical horizon line in sight, suggesting that the horizon in question is a personal one: the limits of one‘s knowledge, experience, and desires.
In Tschäpe’s video Fernweh, the water line forms a liquid horizon between the stability of the shoreline and the otherworldliness of aquatic depths. Unlike Tschäpe’s earlier videos, which evince a strong focus on the body in states of transformation, Fernweh eschews depicting humanoid form in favor of vines, schools of fish, and other marine life. The restless aquatic imagery combined with the video‘s haunting ambient soundtrack suggest that another type of subjectivity propels the camera’s gaze. As writer Rafael Vogt Maia Rosa remarks, the post-experiential reality that the video depicts could also be interpreted as unfolding through “the frightened eyes of a invertebrate [who represents] the sacred weaknesses of many people.” The viewer’s heartbeat connects with this phantom life-form’s “uninterrupted pronunciation of gutural sounds, linked as mantras of a being in permanent mutation.”
This restless visions contained in the video find resonance in a related series of works on view in the exhibition. Fernweh I, a large-scale mixed media work on watercolor paper, depicts a phosphorescent tangle of sinewy electric blue lines that delicately dance atop a washy, green-grey ground. Deriving their titles from the German word for wanderlust, the landscapes in this watercolor series propose an ethereal jumble of memory and desire.