Crippled Symmerty is an attempt to renegotiate the representation of an archive by reducing it to an abstract form. Emptied archive boxes for 16 mm films I discovered on the attic of the Goethe Institute in Amsterdam serve as the material of rearranging cultural memory in an ornamental language.
The empty boxes act as inverse spaces of the absent film reels and index the artist’s accumulated visual repository that evoke associations with an array of cultural motifs set in and out of alignment (crippled) with the existing floor pattern of the Goethe Institut in Amsterdam.
Crippled Symmerty also responds to other elements of the surrounding 19th century architecture of the building, such as wall and floor tiles, rooms partly furnished with patterned wallpaper and wooden panels, the embellished glass windows along the main staircase, and stucco decorations above various doorway arches
Installation view, 'The Goethe-Institut’s Reading Room Pyongyang: Between Object and Shadow', slide projection with 80 35mm slides, 2013 ( photographs: Johannes Schwartz)
overview, 35 mm color slides
2013, 81 35 mm slides, color
The collected films can be seen as a portrait of the institute’s past or still-present agenda based on a national cultural heritage. However, when framed as ornaments, they speak a mixed language that could also relate to a complex history of decorative patterning, the forms of which have migrated between local and national cultural legacies, which lost their original genealogy across expansive stretches of time and space. The title, Crippled Symmetry, is borrowed from a work by the music composer Morton Feldman, who was inspired by asymmetrical deviations in the patterns of Turkish nomad carpets.
(text fragment by Christina Li)