Luo Mingjun ‘The Third Space’
The Third Space – can it be grasped or entered, perhaps even seen? What characterises this Third Space? It or he or she is neither ego nor alter. Instead there is a broadening of our thinking, which is culturally so tightly bound within binary dichotomies – within the antipodes of yes and no, East and West, Orient and Occident, true and false. Dualism is rejected as obsolete. In sociological theory, the figure of the third party is considered a kind of communicator, a medium that facilitates a breaking out of the dyadic structure and is able to stimulate differences between the alter and the ego. The perception of and reflection upon the third party provides an opportunity to break out of the constricting perspective of the dyad and to explore new spaces.
Luo Mingjun’s exhibition ‘The Third Space’ at the Galerie Gisèle Linder deals with this ‘Third Space’. What is more, the Third Space has become essential to and the home of Luo Mingjun’s work as an artist. The artist’s personal experiences with immigration – with setting out and with being underway – continue to shape her thinking and define her work. Nonetheless, whenever a decision has been made to live a life in diaspora, questions regarding cultural identity become inevitable – questions that can rarely be fully resolved. Luo Mingjun’s artistic investigations can be understood in terms of a search for answers to these questions: while an art student in China, she was trained in the Western oil painting of classical Modernism. However, only marginal traces of this can be discovered in her oeuvre today – only the medium of oil on canvas remains. On the other hand, Chinese elements have made their way into her work, whether in the form of old (family) photographs, her specific handling of oils or in her intensive exploration of paper.
The oscillation between two cultures that could not be more different and the productive failure of a definitive identification as either Eastern or Western have led Luo Mingjun to a place of refuge, the Third Space. In literature, specifically in works of post-colonial literature, it has long been possible to recognise attempts to enable descriptions of a Third Space – a Third Space that breaks with thinking in terms of isolated cultural and political contexts. Luo Mingjun tries to make a space of this kind productive for her art as well. She is searching for an imaginary place where identities can overlap and exist alongside one another without excluding each another. ‘The Third Space’, according to the artist, ‘is nevertheless not my personal space in a physical sense; instead, as a conceptual framework it is, in principle, open to anyone who wants to participate in it.’ In this sense, she not only assigns all of her own expectations for the future of her own artistic development to it – she also hopes for diverse collaborations and exhibition projects.
After a long search, Luo Mingjun’s art has found a place that it deserves and where it can continue to develop. The Third Space no longer demands identification – like the cloud of her newest works ‘Clouds’, which is able to hover freely and unrestricted in space.
Frederike Harrant, March 2014
Translation: Michael Wetzel
8 April – 24 May 2014
The young Winterthur artist Christoph Eisenring is showing a selection of photographs and a cut-paper work in the Sous-Sol of the Galerie Gisèle Linder
The analogue colour photograph Untitled (2012) depicts a white, burning candle with a bottle placed over it. The work deals with a balance that is fragile in several respects: in a few seconds, the oxygen will be used up and the flame extinguished.
The motif suggests references to still lifes and to memento mori. With Untitled, Christoph Eisenring has created a poetic work which takes the moment of the (analogue) exposure itself as its theme. To borrow the words the French philosopher Roland Barthes wrote in his book Camera lucida, where he describes photography as the image ‘which produces Death while trying to preserve life’, this photograph by Christoph Eisenring deals with the medium of photography itself.
Negativ (2013), which consists of two almost identical colour photographs, also thematises temporality and transience, which are fundamental to all life. When viewed more closely, the two details of skin presented here differ in terms of their texture and shading, and they do so literally ‘separated by a heartbeat’.
The large-format photograph Horizont (2014) is an image of the void, which is structured by way of the tiny image of a point at the lower edge of the photo. Through this insertion of an object – it is the point of a dagger – the seemingly abstract photograph mutates into a view on to an indefinite, expansive landscape. The photograph is fixed to a light-coloured matt and this produces the impression that it is using the blade to cut itself out of the background. The work thus becomes a self-reflexive gesture questioning the creation and the contextualisation of the photographic image.
A clear and well-considered framing is important to Christoph Eisenring in all of his works – it is this, in particular, that makes the initially immaterial photographic work into an art object. Furthermore, in all of his works – which include drawings, sculptures, collages, cut-paper works and installations, in addition to the photographs – he explores the fine line separating abstraction and figuration in ever new ways. Christoph Eisenring creates ‘pictures’ that call themselves into question and point to the conditions under which they were created. The cut-paper work shown in the exhibition – Untitled (2014) – also provides a vivid example of this.
Françoise Theis, March 2014
Translation : Michael Wetzel