I carry a stack of plates, cups, and bowls on my arm while standing smiling in an empty white room. At first, I stand there quietly, but with time it becomes harder and harder to keep the arm balancing the dishes still. It starts trembling, and a soft clink is heard. Eventually, I am unable to hold out my arm horizontally, the dishes come crashing down and are broken on the floor. An LCD projection loop shows me again and again in the act of balancing the dishes: the same clothes, the same room, but always a new stack of dishes that is dropped to the ground.
I stand up in front of a white wall and keep inching closer to it. I start pressing my body against the wall, positioning my arms, legs, and feet so as to achieve the largest possible contact area. As the human body is not made for such a flattened-out upright posture, it is impossible to hold that position. The wall offers no support—I lose my balance and fall backward, away from the wall. Again and again, I try another approximation but never succeed to hold the flat contact position.
A construction fence is moved through the landscape, piece by piece, by bringing always the last element up to the top of the line. The fence makes its way through forest and field, along houses and streets. A gauze screen is mounted on each fence element, so that what is behind the fence becomes nearly indiscernible; the fence blocks the view temporarily. For days, I keep moving the fence along several hours a day, with local residents and anybody interested being free to watch.
Prior to the exhibition opening, matches are struck in a dark gallery room for three successive nights. One after the other, they are allowed to burn down a little before they are extinguished and dropped on the ground. The resultant pile of burnt matches points to the nightly activity.
A stand, as motionless as possible, was taken on light-sensitive paper every day for one week. Through exposure of the sheets that were changed daily, the foot position and body posture were captured on the paper. Although this procedure was repeated every day in exactly the same way, there are visible deviations between the individual “daily positions” as the positioning of the body and the exposure of the paper are not exactly reproducible. The seven “daily positions” are presented hanging unframed side by side on a wall.
A patch of grass in which the yellowish impression of a human body is clearly discernible. It was created by lying down in the grass every day for a whole week. At the opening, the impression of the body is distinctly visible in the grass but gradually disappears over the course of the show.
A vase stands in front of a narrow white wall. A hand holding one end of a white string moves around it in circles, wrapping the string around the vase ever more tightly until it eventually breaks under the pressure. The installation consists of at least three CRT-TV sets that show the wrapping of different vases. They are distributed throughout the room so that the long and monotonous process of wrapping and tightening can only be watched on one of them. At regular intervals, the sound of the vases cracking is heard from one of the TVs. If you rush over there, though, the vase is already broken. You need to be patient enough to wait and see to be able to experience the brief, tense breaking moment.
I am building a dam in an alpine creek with rocky banks. I keep working on it for one week, six hours a day. It changes the course of the steadily flowing water, but I am still unable to block the current entirely. Even as the dam is growing higher and wider from all the stones dragged on, the water keeps seeping through. The video performance is screened from an LCD projector in consecutive real-time installments that fill the six daily opening hours of the exhibition over a week.
A narrow white space has six doors that all open to the inside. But the space is so small that the doors all crash into and block one another if several of them are opened at the same time. The freestanding installation depends on being actually used by exhibition visitors because it is only by opening and closing the doors that the various possibilities of entering and being blocked out can be explored.
For days, I blow up air mattresses while sitting alone in an empty white room with a large shop window. I keep filling them with air for an entire week. First, I let the inflated mattresses slide to the floor. Later, I stack them up into a tower that almost fills up the entire space. Passers-by can watch me through the window or come in and move around between the piled-up mattresses.
A section of a house front with three glass doors, the one in the middle closed, the two outer ones open. The stretch of house wall between the two open doors is wrapped with parcel string. Many times, the string is led into the interior through one door and back out again through the other. On the inside, the winds of string run parallel across the wall, blocking the middle door. On the outside, they are passed, at some distance from the wall, through the ring of a ground peg in front of the middle door. As the strings prevent the outer doors from being closed, they have to be cut at the end of the day.
In an empty, windowless room, six people incessantly run against the walls. When hitting a wall, they turn and keep running only to collide with another wall or hit the same spot over and over again. Sometimes they touch the wall slowly and cautiously and then again throw themselves forcefully against it. A maximum of four visitors are allowed into the room and find themselves in the midst of the performance.
I wander around in a swimming pool with balloons floating in it. Slowly, I stride around under water while grasping in walking, from time to time, one of the balloons to breathe in the air from it. The video is screened with an LCD projector in an entirely darkened room.
I move through a pedestrian zone in a self-created space of my own, consisting of two chipboard panels. The panels force me to take only very small steps and block my view ahead. Slowly, I move along the street looking sideways to the ground for orientation. I become an obstacle for passers-by with a quicker walking pace.
I twist and turn, with my upper body naked, unsuccessfully trying to take a look at a certain spot on my back. This futile act is projected onto six black screens that show me in different positions and from different views (from the front, from behind, from the sides, sitting and standing). In moving through the projections, viewers themselves have to keep turning around again and again in order to be able to watch and compare the different positions.
The current time is announced over loudspeakers for a period of four hours. Each announcement tells the time in hours, minutes, and seconds. The impossibility of a completely even speech tempo causes the announcements of the different soundtracks to fall increasingly out of step. If an announcement starts only one second later than another one, it already gives a later time and hence a different sequence of numbers, which makes for an even greater time shift. Viewers can move freely around the loudspeakers. If they place themselves in the center of the installation, all they can hear is an unintelligible babble of voices. If sitting down on a bench right in front of one of the loudspeakers, they can closely listen in on the soundtrack.
Balancing five books on my neck and the back of my head, I walk around downtown Düsseldorf. The books force a forward-bent posture, eyes turned to the ground, which makes walking the crowded streets difficult.
I drag an aerated concrete block through the streets on a string until it has entirely vanished. While still big and heavy, the block leaves a clear white trace that keeps getting thinner the more the block is worn away. Eventually, once the block has become small and light, it leaves no trace at all and continues to grind down only very slowly until it is completely gone.
I immerse my head in water and start speaking, but instead of words all that can be heard is incomprehensible bubbling sounds. From time to time, I briefly come up for air and then dive in again, speaking into the water. Even if my words cannot be understood, anger can be read from my facial expression. The video is presented on a flat-screen TV mounted vertically at eye level.
On a small inflated balloon, I apply alternating layers of plaster and paper-mâché. With one to two fresh layers being put on every day, the oval object keeps steadily growing. At the end of the four-week exhibition it has eventually become so large that it no longer fits through the entrance door and therefore has to be destroyed.