Monique Thomaes

1994 | time sculpture

time sculpture

installation view

Martin Gropiusbau Berlin 1994
installation display cases / photographic paper / natural light

 

In a corridor of the Martin Gropiusbau 5 museum display cases were placed. Every minute, for five hours during an afternoon, a sheet of unexposed photographic paper was dated and then put it in the glass display cases. These time notations remained there until evening, free to the further processes of exposure.

When later the sheets were collected, those from the early hours were darkened, while those exposed to late evening light had hardly undergone any development.

Time was visible.

Angelika Stepken

– augen blenden – 1998
published in “de passage monique thomaes” vice versa verlag berlin 1998
translation by John Epstein

time sculpture
… repeat: Any cognition requires time, also when standing before an immovable sculpture. However in this case time is that time which the observers needs, takes, in order to establish a relation to the visible. Time, or perception, before a sculpture is latently open-ended because it establishes a kind of dialogue situation with space. The time of technical picture media is dictated. The observer follows – even if the work in question is of an “interactive” nature – the time, tempo, and rhythm of the apparatus. Before Monique Thomaes began working with the video camera’s moving picture, she observed in several experimental situations the phenomenon of light in time, as, for example, in the case of photographic direct exposures. Her studio, then in “Künstlerhof Buch“, became transformed into a camera obscura. Thomaes spread out photographic paper on the floor and observed the etchings which light created during different times of day and under various weather conditions. For her 1994 exhibition in “Martin-Gropius-Bau”, she dated, every minute for five hours in the afternoon, a leaf of unexposed photographic paper and then displayed it in one of five glass display cases. These time-notations remained there until evening, free to the further processes of exposure. When Thomaes later collected the sheets, those from the early hours were darkened, that is shadowed-over by light, while those exposed to late evening light had hardly undergone any development.

1994 | tu te souviens

tu te souviens

Künstlerhaus Berlin 1994
slideshow

 

In this work the slides change every five minutes, each transparency showing a cloudy sky at various times during the course of a day. Correspondingly, for respectively 30 seconds each time, a text is blended in “14:40 Berlin 9.5.1993 tu te souviens”. The time of the slide presentation is identical with that time which has been photographed: namely, from 14:40 till 17:35. The “tu” in the text is essentially addressed to the spectator.

– augen blenden – 1998
published in “de passage monique thomaes” vice versa verlag berlin 1998
translation by John Epstein

tu te souviens
The relation of a single point in time to the span of time – whereby the former is always determined by the person observing – led Thomaes on in the same year to the slide projection “Lichtung”. In this work the slides change every five minutes, each transparency showing a cloudy sky at various times over the course of a day. Correspondingly, for respectively 30 seconds each time, a text was blended in “– 14:40 berlin 9. 5. 1993 tu te souviens – 14:45 berlin 9. 5. 1993 tu te souviens – 14:50…”. The time of the slide presentation is identical with that time which has been photographed: namely, from 14:40 till 17:35. This “tu” in the text is essentially addressed to the spectator – however it refers to a figure who remains simultaneously anonymous though near, thereby suggesting reliability; this being a relation, an unspecified kinship, which appears again and again in Thomaes’ works. In the confrontation between text and picture or, in other words, between measures of time and memory, Monique Thomaes alludes to a melancholy correlation to the stored photographic image. If one is able to recall a definite, meaningful event or situation by means of a picture, a reversion to events occurring in the sky is doomed to failure. Cloud constellations are momentary, just as is memory. Both these moments, – reflection upon media and upon self – which are hereby broached, appear in her following work in an evermore explicit, tension-ridden relationship …

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