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Maik Schlüter (2014)

Eye Operation

Explosion: A laser in the eye. The clouded retina wiped clean. Out of grey a sea of colors emerges, an explosive mixture of visual cascades. An optical LSD trip. Deep in the recesses of the brain, the stimuli of bundled light become a spectrum of all colors, a single flowing, shimmering, smudging, and blurring. Impossible to focus, a glance into the depths of illusion, mechanically generated, scratching at the nervous system, sensory needle-pricks excited to the point of climax. This is all inside me. There is no picture, no surface, a wafting mass. Abstraction beyond conceptualization.

Formalism as reproach and pretext. An argumentation that strives to accurately detect aesthetic lapses, denouncing and transfiguring. A ludicrous game of historical references, philosophical snares and the will to knowledge. Justification and hedging: a life in context. Aesthetics or ideology? A bureaucratic act. The rhetoric of art explanation as adventurous associative prose and political stipulation. Who prescribes the meanings? What archaeology is at work here?

Solero Exotik: The flash-frozen sex of ice cream-licking in the vivid industrial colors of the food designer. Solero – the cheap associative power of Hispanic clichés: exotic, seductive, and foreign. Aesthetic cannibalism: a culture to be imbibed on hot, stifling days in the big city, from the kiosk deep freeze. This chemical hue is as colorful as a lens stricken with cataracts is cloudy, a sickeningly sweet ruse. Exoticness is also eroticism, as absurd and perverse as strawberry flavored condoms. In defiance of the virus of bad taste, between AIDS and diabetes, here color theory is a pleasure of the mucous membranes.

Giants: James Dean and Rock Hudson. Not gods or mythical powers, only mortal decals of the film industry. No question – nothing is more beautiful than Technicolor. Nothing is better than Hollywood drama, which always had better plots than the original texts. Art is interpretation, a continual elaboration and copying, reinterpretion and expansion. Giants are finite models, falling from the sky, driving to their deaths or (almost) dying in Paris. Perhaps these are the exact colors that James Dean saw when he wrapped his Porsche 550 Spyder around a tree. Death as a trace of color, cinematic, picturesque, monstrous and catastrophic. That was 1955, and art had experienced abstract expressionism, had finally digested the formulas of the avant-garde, and was already secretly bracing itself for the subversive arguments of conceptual art on the horizon. But engines are louder and sports cars are faster, and pop art was a cool vehicle in the neon light between L.A. and Madison Avenue: Say what you want, but it is still alive.

Philosophy and Physics: a glance into the intermediate realm of molecules, photons, electrons and particles. Nowadays abstraction mainly means elemental concretion, because the logic of all imaging processes is the visual decoding of the invisible. A riddle in the focus of the unforgiving eye of the camera that now responds only to electrical stimuli and has no need of chemical substances. Matter is played out against itself: even solid bodies are permanently in motion, and the body is a molecular minefield of visual seduction.

Are there any rules? No rules! The world is a huge rule system, unfathomable, full of perils and subterranean pitfalls, an object under the electron microscope of scientific psychoses, a caricature of true reality! Is there empty space? Ignorance is coupled with abstraction in the particle accelerator. That was always a veritable procedure for discovering the world: an introspective exploration of the uncertain, an engine of evolution, a mental specter, physical and philosophical, a space of fear, a space of thought. Tactile but not tactical, visual but not visionary, empirical but without logic. If you want to reckon with time, you have to traverse space. Discourse has holes and gaps, but absolute space cannot have holes. Images are still the optimum: real illusions that are static and deep, with their two-dimensional dynamics that are depicted in the mind and show in all clarity with de-clouded lens that black is the foundation of all colors and perception is the best form of phenomenology.

 © Maik Schlüter, 2014 

Translation: Steen Kristian Gilbertson

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