AboutNikolai Szymanski’s works deal in different ways with the medium of moving images and questions of space in the realm between illusion and reality, invisibility and visibility, the private and public spheres, but also between art and everyday life.
Under the title “My Lapis Lullaby”, Szymanski presents a site-specific installation at ITALIC consisting of the video sculpture of the same name and the film work “Ghostshopping”. In addition to its striking tiles, the exhibition space is bathed in a deep blue. “My Lapis Lullaby” fits into this environment as a miniaturized pool, in which water becomes abstractly visible as a ghostly moving projection. In “Ghostshopping”, the viewers encounter illuminated shop windows by night and interiors of shops, empty of inhabitants, strangely deserted and desolate.
In the overall installation, Szymanski associatively brings together various references from art and popular culture. The blue of the walls is reminiscent of the French artist Yves Klein and deliberately refers to his statement that blue is “the visible invisible”. This way, an additional resonant space opens up against the illusionistic projection of the water. At the same time, the pool plays an important role as a place of longing, as in the paintings of David Hockney or as a (status) symbol of the Californian lifestyle, combined with the ideal of eternal physical youthfulness. “Ghostshopping”, on the other hand, evokes the potentially dark side of a seemingly infinite blue, which at night can evolve into something rather sinister. Amongst other references, Szymanski is inspired by the song Blue, from the eponymous album (1971) by the Canadian artist and painter Joni Mitchell, as well as the early film Ghost Dance (1983) by British director Ken McMullen. Solitude and isolation are reflected in the images of nocturnally deserted places, which seem to be inhabited only by spirits. In their nocturnal emptiness, they stand for traces of what is no longer present, and in the overall picture they remain in keeping with Szymanski’s artistic approaches to the invisible and the unspoken.
Text: Philipp Fürnkäs