The Architect of Light

Gabriele Uelsberg

in "Annette Sauermann MOVED BY LIGHT" LVR-LandesMuseum Bonn 2010

The exhibitions of the LVR-LandesMuseum in Bonn realized in conjunction with the "Szene Rheinland" series draw from the large potential of contemporary artists working in the Rhineland. In them, they substantiate their own autonomous artistic approaches, making their mark in the broader current art scene. The diversity of the artistic means of expression is accordingly very large and is reflected in the wide range of genres.

The exhibition project with the Aachen artist Annette Sauermann presented here shows a sculptural concept that in the strict sense can be understood as a form of "light sculpture." In the process, Annette Sauermann's work has increasingly undergone a concentration over the past decades: From her early installations and objects focusing mainly on location and space, she has developed an artistic scenario encompassing installations as well as spatial architectural sculpture dealing with the interplay between materiality and light in an original manner.

In her arrangements of seemingly incompatible substances such as concrete and glass or concrete and paper, Annette Sauermann conveys a balancing act that plays with the diverse perceptions and sensitivities of materiality and simultaneously employs the space itself and the incident light in the space in order to cause the sculptures, objects, and on-site installations to vibrate. Such combinations-particularly in the pieces featuring colored acrylic glass and concrete-represent a degree of experienced risk that arises from the supposed incompatibility of these materials, simultaneously achieving a high level of immateriality and fragility through the incident light on the transparent colored glass. Light becomes "tangible" here as the work's third material element.

Annette Sauermann combines the materials in such a way in her sculptures that they directly confront each other without any other aids, preserving themselves and very naturally referencing each other in an extremely worked out concept. This form of sculptural construction citing seriality and additive processes contains the possibility of further developing such a sculpture into the form's infiniteness on the one hand as well as the potential theoretical chance of modification offered in ever new arrangements, as it were, on the other. The interpenetration of the materials when the sheets of glass are placed between the concrete elements and held by them in turn is made meaningful by light through the illumination of the piece. The interpenetration of the materialities of concrete, glass and light thus occurs in a constant process of change that, however, is effectively only evoked by the light itself operating statically within the materiality's structural givens.

Annette Sauermann works with her pieces in two different directions. On the one hand she constructs so-called "light traps" out of her sculptural installations that bundle the incident daylight in the space like a kaleidoscope, concentrating it in the piece itself. On other hand, autonomous objects develop in her wall pieces and sculptural settings defined in the space which convey an independent sculptural image in the space with precisely this materiality of light, glass and concrete. By moving his position, the viewer is constantly called upon to be prepared for variation and expected changes over the course of a day within the infiniteness of time and make out new aspects as well as attain surprising insights regarding the work of art. In this sense, the work, or Annette Sauermann's works, respectively, is deliberately ambiguous and subject to the process of change without falling prey in any way to arbitrariness or the randomness of forms of appearance.

In the context of this alterable visualization of her objects and installations, Annette Sauermann also always takes the specific space and the exhibition area itself into consideration in her artistic work. The processual changes caused by the inclusion of light inherent in her wall pieces, sculptures and spatial installations are consciously developed by the artist in her dealings with the respective exhibition space. In this regard, the spaces and exhibition conditions under which Annette Sauermann's works are shown are integrated into the processual changes and can be experienced in new and different ways. The approach of the artist who regularly references the architecture resembles an analytical research process that her works as well as the space where her works are installed are subject to. The questions that come about in the contexts of her various series of works are therefore often of a scientific nature and are always precisely examined in the context of the given optical, structural and architectural conditions. The result, however, is not a mathematical, scientific "test assembly," but consistently an overwhelming and surprising visual experience for the viewer in the space where the viewer can quasi experience himself as a person within this framework.

The catalog and the exhibition present Annette Sauermann's work in its many and varied deployments. In her stringent realization, the artist has demonstrated for many years a convincing work that displays a consequential, multifaceted and creatively cogent artistic approach in field of spatial sculptural architecture.