In Judith Raum’s artwork, there is always something that appears alongside something else. For example, alongside the production and exhibition of painted fabrics, whose colors shimmer and oscillate as the viewer moves past them, reminding him perhaps of Redon’s palette or stitch work by Missoni, there is an analytical, conceptual discourse backed up by documents full of historical and economic facts. Alongside fabrics suspended vertically from the ceiling, forming a fold on the floor and dividing the space with a certain gravity, alongside light, flawed objects displayed horizontally and close to the ground, and alongside a cloud-like vault of hanging threads or strings woven into sculptures, there are photographs from archives and accompanying texts attached to white walls and tin sheets covered with paper. Alongside delicate knots of sticks, stems, and pipes with silver cigarette paper attached to their rough, split ends, and alongside the elaborately casual arrangement of objects that the artist has picked up during her walks and reworked, objects such as feathers painted with watercolors or inserted into the hollows of bones, there are lecture performances for multiple voices, in which facts mingle with subjective travel impressions. At times it almost seems as if the “alongside” is not just a question of the usual placing of things next to one another in space, but rather a border case in which things are actually placed inside one another. If we look at a section of the blue-tinted maps of the German-built Anatolian railway line, the missing parts and blemishes cause it to resemble the play of forms on one of the large cotton cloths.
The concept grasps the thing. It takes it up with determination in order to define it and turn it into an ideal thing, or in order to represent this ideality as its essence. Art, on the other hand, grasps what lies alongside the thing that has turned into an ideal thing. It reaches into an off-space. In the end, the concept cannot avoid deciding whether something is this or that, or even if it is definable at all. Even though an artist must constantly decide what to do and what not to do, what to use and what not to use, art that grasps what lies alongside the ideal thing no longer deals with decisions that aim at definability.
In making use of the concept, then, Judith Raum exposes the concept to something alongside its power of determination, something that escapes its command. What does this mean? (...)
The full is published in the book
Judith Raum: eser
archive books Berlin, june 2014