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Schälling | Enderle                         

FORMED UNFORMED                      

28 September to 24 November 2018


“From childhood onwards, our perception is influenced by certain contrasts: water is considered to be a mobile element, the earth an immobile, inert mass. These terms are the product of everyday experience and are related to all of our sensory impressions. If the earth is shaken in its old foundations, which we have considered immovable, a long-time deception is destroyed in a single moment. You suddenly pay attention to the slightest noise, you mistrust for the first time a floor on which you have so confidently set foot.”[1]


It is to assume that for most of us, the amount of stone we are confronted with in our environment is that much, that if we consider having a relationship with stone, it is probably one of weariness. We are surrounded by it in all possible forms - asphalt, concrete, brick - you name it. We are longing for space, for green spots, nature, water. Only there do we learn to rediscover stone as part of the natural environment. In hills, mountains and as the foundation of the soil that carries the vegetation and the ground on which we walk.


In this field of tension between "dead material" and “living matter” the artist couple Schälling | Enderle works- and conceived this exhibition. They have gathered vast experience working in quarries all over Europe before settling in Liège, Belgium where they are since many years constructing sculpture with stone, extracted from quarries in Wallonia. The most direct reference to this network of relations is probably to be found in the photograph "Memoire tournée I" from the work group “Künstliche Berge” (Artificial Mountains) by Doris Schälling. It is a documentation of ephemeral structures in which degraded and destroyed matter, at the last moment before it is disappearing altogether, is shaped for one last time into a form that bears resemblance to its long-vanished original structure. In the formative and tense space between the choice of the raw material and the production of an art work they have developed a subtle understanding of their materials. In their works they emphasize questions of appreciation and value of materials and how the transformation, adaptation and processing of natural resources changes our perception of them. In the work “Delitages (Japonais)” and the sculpture “Eckstein”, these questions are brought to the fore through materials layered in such a way that a finely balanced composition is created. However, by the juxtaposition of "cheap" materials as plywood and plaster and natural stone, they aim beyond the question of composition of sculpture. Seeing sculpture as more than a work of reduction and pleasing proportions, it has the potential to take us beyond our limited ideas of place, culture, times and the nature of matter. The central piece of this exhibition is the work “Bergung” for the description of which I would like to refer back to Alexander von Humboldt: “Large surfaces, of manifold structured continents are raised and lowered, the solid became separated from the liquid [...] The boundaries of sea and land, of liquid and solid, changed regularly and into many different shapes. The plains oscillated upwards and downwards. After the continents were thrust upwards, long crevasses formed, mostly parallel, and then probably during long spells of time, mountain ranges ascended; salty ponds and great inland waters, long inhabited by the same creatures, were forcibly divorced [...].”[2] In the same way as Humboldt manages to summarize the origin of the continents in a few sentences, the world’s genesis condenses into the surface of this work, framed and supported by an artificial horizon, which lends the work, despite its monumentality, a wonderful lightness.


[1] Alexander von Humboldt, Die Wiederentdeckung der Neuen Welt, Verlag der Nationen, Berlin, 1989, p.67


[2] Alexander von Humboldt, Kosmos. Entwurf einer physischen Weltbeschreibung. 5 Bde. Stuttgart, Tübingen: Cotta 1845-1862. Volume I, p.168

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