Metamorphoses – Transformations

Contribution of Juli 17, 2021

Exhibition with objects by Beatriz von Eidlitz and Florian Lechner

Metamorphoses – transformations: What has been transformed? What is to be transformed?

The paintings and objects we see in this exhibition have emerged from processes of transformation. Their raw materials are elementary: iron –rags – sand. In addition, water and fire as media, which set the transformation into motion.

First: iron, rags and water.

Beatriz von Eidlitz prepares iron plates: color pigments, metal stencils, old nails, saw blades, plastic rings are arranged into compositions to form structures and patterns atop the plates. This is the one aspect, the weighty half of the transformation process. In addition, there is also the lightweight, liquid half: torn cotton fabric is ground into the tiniest pieces, mixed with water to form a pulp – paper pulp, which is scooped from a tub with a sieve frame and laid atop the prepared iron plate. What happens next remains invisible: the actual transformation process happens in the concealment. The water in the paper pulp reacts with the iron, rust eats into the solid surface, the solid metal becomes volatile, everything starts to float, so to speak, discolors, reacts with each other. The solid structures and colors move downward into the metal, which becomes porous, and upward into the slowly drying paper mass. After a few days, the dried paper sheet is pulled off – then two images appear, related like mirror images, yet different: one image is on the iron plate, the other on the coarse-grained paper. On both, we see traces of a process of transformation in which conscious design and accidental events interpenetrate. Creativity and patience, activity and waiting, action and passion are mutually dependent. The traces of this event seem like traces of life itself – rusty lines of bizarre beauty, luminous color, breathing metal.

Sand and fire are the starting ingredients in the production of glass. Florian Lechner works with glass that has already been melted from sand and is uncommonly pure and colorless. The glass is heated, drawn over molds, pressed, bent, superimposed, and colors are added. When it cools, air bubbles and fractures can appear, streakiness or cloudiness. The shaped glass doesn’t only allow the light to shine through it like a windowpane: the light shimmers, is refracted and shaped. The large bowl absorbs light, emits light, focuses it, makes it resound. Its shape is open toward the top; fullness and emptiness are equally possible.

Shimmering glass, iron rust, luminous color:

What can we see?

Floating planets, passing by as if in a dream, spinning. Flying crates, each in search of a place in the universe – what yearnings sail through space in them? Behind them, the wall becomes three-dimensional and draws the eye into this visual game. Iron plates change their sizes, puff up, contract; volcanoes erupt, a green leaf unfolds. Enlarged micro-worlds glow in brilliant colors – pulsating cell structures. Are these dangerous bacteria or blood cells that rush through the veins? Perhaps also single-celled organisms, teeming life?

Greenish-blue water flows through oceanic depths, light refracts in reds and blues, a tautly stretched sail shows the direction – every space is expansible, nothing stands still, and ships could sail in the large bowl. Black light shines through the entire length of a corridor: a single word would be enough to fill it. White light moves, dancing around a glass bowl in everchanging figures.

Finally, the shape of the viewer becomes visible, his or her own face is reflected in the glass. Only at second glance does one realize what is depicted in the large-format photos behind it. Perhaps, after this second look, one’s own surprise and transformation also becomes visible in the mirror image.

Susanne Erhard Rein (June 29, 2011)