Inhaling the projected fog and connecting with the silence of the mystical photographs of Karen Irmer tempts to escape into quiet solitude. At the gallery space of Karin Wimmer, my introspective journey began when I let go of my physical and emotional tension. I felt my body breathing again, as well as distancing myself more from daily maddening stress. The impression reminds of the airflow velocity study by Ryan Gander at the gates of the Fridericianum with I Need Some Meaning I Can Memorise (The Invisible Pull) 2012, at the dOCUMENTA 13.
Encountering Irmer’s series of dark-colored – almost monochrome – photographs taken at various places and times, creates the urge to step back, in the search of finding what lies behind the surface of the exhibited picture. For Irmer, the photographs are not made to represent a particular decisive moment of her of life record, but to explore what one particular moment can be, and then to conserve it for eternity. But perhaps, the future outlook she provides here appears too surreal for the concept of hope.
The twelve-minute lasting short-film Hauch (Exhalation) projects a forest at an almost dark time of a day, covered by delicate floating fog. In doing so it creates a feeling of the unknown, and appears washed off from any personal marks. To understand the work of Karen Irmer, verbal descriptions are not sufficient, since wordily language places restrictions on one’s subconscious feelings. Breathing, however, into the still colors and the natural materials depicted in her works (such as wood, water, mist, greens), automatically fosters the understanding of her art –resulting in the qualities of stillness.
This gallery show is part of the exhibition and film festival KINO DER KUNST 2015 in Munich, whose objective it is to project light on the close relationship between contemporary art with the commercial media industry. Within this context, Irmer’s latest exhibition can be recognised as a dissolution of a certain formalised German understanding of landscapes and shows how new media can be used as a means to understand the world through soundless instances. As you enter the gallery you can tell: cultural optimisation outside of this gallery space very often disregards natural breathing.
Comment, originally published at Reflektor-M. 02/04/2015, Munich.