Monique Thomaes

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Parochialkirche Berlin 1995
installation display cases / blue / white glass / natural light


This installation in the “Parochialkirche” consists of twelve empty museum display cases in front of the church’s windows. In each of them two blue tinted glass plates are placed which are covered by two transparent glass plates set at a certain angle. With the movement of the spectator and influenced by the changing light the reflections and refractions flow with the observer: a “light sculpture” showing the church’s whole architecture cast in a horizontal plane through the glass plates.

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Moving light is also the basis for her creation in Berlin’s Parochialkirche. The light and structure of the gothic church windows are reflected in the glass display cases placed before the windows and in their blue glass bottoms; these reflections alter in appearance according to the time of day and weather conditions. Furthermore, this process is preserved in the display’s photographs. Superimposures and fade-out effects produce an image which above all documents the augmentation in light. It is not the sacred which stands in the foreground here, but rather the constructive process leading up to the attainment of this “light picture”. Laszlo Moholy Nagy’s light-room-modulator comes to mind; the difference in Thomaes’ case is that such a complex instrument is not required. Her work is slower and quieter. She requires the observation time, which is already predicated by the nature of the existing phenomena. Her work is the result of several stages of development. The installation is just as important as the photo resulting from it, or even as the final video work.