Alexander Gutke

Mar 23rd – Apr 21st, 2007
Sies + Höke, Düsseldorf

Copyright Sies + Höke, Düsseldorf; Photo Achim Kukulies, Düsseldorf

In Lighthouse (2006) a Kodak Carousel projector screens 81 slides of a white rectangular shape, similar to an empty slide frame. Step by step it turns in perspective, away from the viewer and out of focus only to return towards the viewer again. It seems as if it is moving back and forth through the wall. The image is shown in a circular movement creating the appearance that we’re following a single slide through the carousel of the projector, – something that would be impossible in reality. A year before Gutke portrayed a journey through the inside of a slide projector (Exploided View), now he turns the projection surface into the three-dimensional space and includes the whole showroom.

9 ways to say it’s over (2006) consists of nine black and white film stills of credits from different movies and countries, each announcing ‘The End’ in a different language. The linguistic diversity of the signs gives an impression how universal perceptions of romance, loss and the finality is. But even the very end, it seems, also differs according to its origin and the people behind. The title reflects a both personal and romantic connection to the world of film, as well as life and death in general: “The film arrives at its final narrative destination while the psychological room created between the viewer, the characters and the story continues to live a life of its own.” (Alexander Gutke)

His recent work ‘snerohT’ consists of a modified Thorens TD 165 MKII turntable, a classic standard record player, which design remained largely unchanged from the 1970’s – 1990’s. The artist “mirrored” its design and function in a subtle and precise way: The turntable in fact is completely functional and can be used to play vinyl records backwards. Ever since the “Paul is dead”-rumors concerning the Ex-Beatle Paul McCartney’s supposed death and immediate replacement by a look-alike in the late 1960’s, the rock world has been surrounded by myths and rumors about hidden messages in song lyrics and album sleeve designs. Christian conservatives have been searching for hints of subversive messages and burning records as well as trying to “de-programme” the misled youth. Subversive declarations were claimed to be included as backward recorded messages in songs by artists such as Led Zeppelin, Judas Priest and The Beatles. Gutke’s turntable derives from these references, but refuses the interaction: it cannot be used in the exhibition. It remains a sculpture in itself instead and could serve as a kind of “tool” for subversive actions that will be continued differently in the mind of every viewer.

Alexander Gutke causes special effects by using repetitive minimalist techniques which destabilise the viewer’s senses momentarily. By the permanent repetition and production of all-day actions he visualizes phenomena that usually stay hidden to the naked eye. Consequently close to formalism and far away from any kind of narration he creates nevertheless illusions that expand the space of our own mental projection and imagination.

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