OBSERVER | A Work of Fiction
ISSUE ONE | OBSERVER
“A WORK OF FICTION” EXHIBITION
Words & Visuals by Daniel Walcher
WORDS ARE USUALLY ABSTRACT TERMS THAT DESCRIBE EXISTING THINGS. THE INSTALLATION “A WORK OF FICTION” BY MERIC ALG?N RINGBORG TURNS THIS RELATIONSHIP AROUND. THE ARTIST’S EXHIBITION SHOWS HOW LANGUAGE WORKS BY VISUALISING EXAMPLE SENTENCES FROM AN ENGLISH DICTIONARY.
The exhibition “A Work of Fiction” at the Kunstverein Freiburg gallery is created with a single comprehensive methodology: that of being only made up from the sentences in the Oxford English Dictionary. It combines 3 elements: an environment, an audio narrative, and a manuscript for a novel – and all of them, even a novel, are constructed with “ready-made” texts from dictionary.
The environment is a the visualisation of these used words and sentences represented in white abstract halls filled with objects. It embodies the imaginary space that every work of fiction creates for its readers. These objects make the dictionary’s ‘example sentences’ tangible giving you an opportunity to explore the complicated nature of an artist and almost the magical ability to turn even the words that were prescribed by the dictionary into a new story.
The audio narrative, titled Metatext, we listen to the author speaking of a book recently written: I was toying with the idea of writing a book. A work of fiction. I didn’t know what I was doing. And I have to say. The first sentence is so hard to compose.
And the third element of the installation, a novel, is a detective-like story following the characters Maria, Mark and Peter. There’s a romantic relationships develop into drama, murder and whatever else one might find in a thriller book, except for this book is not written, but rather compiled.
So the visitor becomes a the protagonist in a scenario and makes his/her own way through the story and the room. You will notice that every single detail fits to the story. You can even find a small red rubber band that glares at you in the white hall and it will immediately remind you the part of the story where the protagonists flipped a red rubber band over a wall. It is a refreshing and exciting way to look at language and how it deals with images and terms. The white and detached atmosphere just add to the experience and make you feel part of the story as this room could be any room.
N O V E L
The shades of evening drew on. Clouds hid the moon. It was obvious a storm was coming in. The rain had not stopped for days. Outside, the wind was as wild as ever. The house was strangely quiet. Everywhere was in darkness. A shadow crossed Maria’s face. An uncanny feeling that she was being watched. Her room was lit by a single naked bulb. The shadows were more intangible than usual as they shifted with each quavering bough and passing cloud. She drew the curtains and lit the fire. Flames danced in the fireplace. The lights flickered and changed color. She drew her chair closer to the fire. The light struck her ring, reflecting off the diamond. The play of light on the diamond’s multifaceted surface… a presentiment of disaster.
She had a letter from Mark. Her name was lettered in gold. She tore open the envelope. The words had been printed in blue type. With a sense of foreboding she read the note:
“I ask you to find it in your heart to forgive me.”
The letter was a manifestation of his guilt. A tear traced a lonely path down her cheek. She drew back the curtains and looked out. She stood at the window looking at the town spread out below. A host of memories rushed into her mind. The heroine was a lady with a past. Beneath the gloss of success was a tragic private life. Shrouded in an eerie veil of mist.
K U N S T V E R E I N F R E I B U R G
About the gallery
The Kunstverein was established in 1827 and, as a result, ranks among the oldest art associations in Germany. The history of its programs is a veritable ‘who’s who’ of early modernism up through the avant-garde movements of the early 20th century. The Kunstverein Freiburg has since developed into an institution that has maintained this strong reputation, and which focuses exclusively on current trends in contemporary art.
In 1997, the Kunstverein moved to the Marienbad, located at Dreisamstrasse 21. Formerly a swimming pool, the building was renovated in accordance with the exigencies of running an art gallery. The Hall is surrounded by the Gallery, which not only provides extra space for projects and exhibitions, but also offers the unique opportunity of viewing the Hall from above.