Press Release: "Das Fenster (The Window)", 2014
12.04. - 07.06.2014
“What is an image suitable for? What is an image composed of? These two questions are just as important as the one that is most often asked: what is an image? Through years of meticulous research, Gábor Ősz has treated these three problems as parallels and as equally important: in his series, he produces tightly interconnected experimental situations, in which he studies the properties of the image.”
(József Mélyi: On the works of Gábor Ösz)
In his three historical projects on National Socialist architecture Gábor Ősz examines views as image in architecture. He relates the existence of camera obscura to architecture and transforms buildings into large cameras to investigate this theory, a method he has named Camera Architectura. In his analysis of the image, questioning the possibility of visualisation, Ösz uses his work to investigate the notion of architecture as a powerful resource incorporated into the function of buildings. He devises fascinating methods to be able to expose large photosensitive papers directly within buildings to forge a more direct connection between the built-in image and architecture.
The Nazis, along with the Soviet Russians, were among the first in history to recognise the power of image and incorporated it into their propaganda as a magical tool. In his trilogy Ősz follows the general cross-section of National Socialist society, which was based around the soldiers, the workers and the Führer himself. In the project The Liquid Horizon (1999-2002) he used the bunkers of the Atlantic Wall, transforming them into cameras to record the gaze of the soldiers on the liquid continent, the vast ocean vista. In The Prora Project (2002) Ősz works with a building built as a holiday resort for workers of the new Germany. The building was planned to be five kilometers long, five stories high, with identical rooms overlooking the sea. Employing the technique of camera obscura he superimposed the images of endless rows of rooms, using multiple exposures section by section on the same photographic paper, to pan the entire uniformity of the building.
The last project in his trilogy, Das Fenster (2012-2013) will be shown for the first time in Germany. This final element in the series focuses on the Führer’s view out onto the world. Hitler’s house, the Berghof, was situated in Obersalzberg in the Southern Bavarian region and was built with a famous four-by-eight-meter window. The window’s monstrous scale and the view it offered on the mountains were aptly commensurate with the delusion of world domination. Due to its immense size this "cut-out", with its perfectly presented outlook onto the Untersberg mountain formation, implied a view over the entire earth. One of Hitler’s prime reasons for the exact location of the building, the Untersberg is considered a place highly imbued with mythological and historical significance, particularly in its association with Friedrich Barbarossa, who unified the first Reich. Since the Berghof had been levelled at the beginning of the 1950s, Ősz used filmic means to "reconstruct" the exact site – that is to say, the view – once framed by the window. He discovered that the former window had an aspect ratio closely matching that of cinema widescreen (1.85:1). The window was graduated into ninety subdivisions that were combined into ten greater divisions of the same proportion, each division closely fitting the single frame ratio of analogue film (3:4). The window served as a viewing-machine and the great hall may rightly be called the apparatus of a systematically arranged spectacle.
Ősz filmed on location over several days: working intuitively, like a painter, he divided the material over the ninety individual sections of the window. The picture is a whole, but the individual parts see fluctuations in atmosphere and intensity of light, diversely reflected in variegating colours. As a result the work oscillates between "still image" and the sequential changes occurring as time passes throughout a day. Displayed in the darkened upper floor of the gallery, the projection is almost the exact size of the original historic window. The digital film is combined with analogue 16mm empty film projections.
Alongside the video installation, on the ground floor we are displaying three large-format photographic works as part of the project. These incorporate graphic notations and draft sketches used to "charge" photographic sources taken from the internet. To blend drawings into the photographic images Ősz transferred found material to analogue negative film, exposing it onto the film directly from his laptop screen. Conceptual intercourse using photographic materials is a typical element of Ősz’ art, yet his works are nonetheless of the highest aesthetic standards, manifesting his appreciation of the uniqueness of an artistic creation.
Gábor Ősz was born in Hungary and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest and at the Rijksakademie (Royal Academy) of Visual Arts in Amsterdam. He lives and works in the Netherlands. His works are in numerous international collections, including the Fonds National d’Art Contemporain (FNAC), France; Fondation Louis Vuitton, France; FOAM (Fotografiemuseum), Amsterdam, Netherlands; Modern Múzeum, Pécs, Hungary; Ludwig Museum Museum of Contemporary Art, Budapest, Hungary; Museum Schloss Moyland, Germany; Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, Netherlands; Frac Franche-Comté, France; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands; Musée de La Roche sur Yon, France; Achmea Kunstcollectie, Netherlands; Rabobank Collection, Netherlands.
The 184-page hardcover book Three by Three was published in 2013 to mark the artist’s solo exhibitions at the Netwerk/Center for Contemporary Art in Aalst, Belgium, and the Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art in Budapest, Hungary. The book is a collection of projects bound to his theories on the boundaries of imaging the world, with a short statement written by the artist accompanying each piece.
Das Fenster (The Window) is Gábor Ősz’ second solo exhibition in the new gallery rooms.
We offer our warmest thanks to 235 Media, Cologne, who made this exhibition possible through their technical support.
Press Release, Van der Grinten Galerie, 2014