This catalog brings together a cross-section of positions that Galerie1214 has been able to give space to in recent years with installations in Berlin and Bad Dürrheim and that it is currently presenting. As artists have always done in previous exhibitions, we have also borrowed a title from a foreign territory for this presentation: "Tropismen".
As is so often the case, it can be precisely the remoteness of such a borrowing that takes the work into an open movement of thought: the term tropism is used in biology to describe the optimization movements of organisms with regard to light, warmth, and nutrients. What is meant is the constant fine "readjustment" of living beings in their respective environment, which also includes the expressions of the environment and contemporaries. A point of this understanding is the juxtaposition of self-sufficient units and always symbiotic orders and patterns. If those are determined by the poles of difference and selfhood, then these are characterized by an interplay of demarcation and opening, mediated by the spontaneous functioning of the sensorium and the catching in the reflection.


With the often quoted and also disputed formula of the solar nature of the human eye*, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe described the assessment that a tropism such as that of the eye to light does not result in a purely materialistic idea such as the stimulus-reaction scheme, but in a Tether for our understanding consists of two threads, as it were: one leads through sensory experience, the other through (often lengthy) mediated cultural concepts. Although – to stay with the example of light – the sun has been integrated into rites such as “God Ra”, abstracted as a “celestial body” or finally classified as a “hydrogen-fusing dwarf star” in conceptual strategies that have existed for thousands of years, light and heat remain spontaneously and originally for our access to knowledge about as a primary experience that art traces: in the drawing as a knowledge-creating dialogue between contour and surface, in the illusion of space as dimensioning seeking order, and in color as a correlate of inexhaustible emotional shades.


Focusing on something outside of us creates a kind of tension, like positive muscular tension as the origin of a movement that follows it. Although it fulfills its meaning through its dissolution, it retains a peculiar echo in art: what has an after-effect in the work exerts a special attraction, just as the reverberation of its choreography can interest us after a performance. As soon as the art is made, it can be accepted in the situation of viewing as the "zero point" (Roland Barthes) of freedom of feeling and creating on the part of the production, as well as of seeing and feeling on the part of viewing.


Certainly, the style says something about the spirit of the selection of the works, which is interested in the creaturely quality of making: It starts from what is happening in the design, which itself always has a starting point, and follows the traces that show how making is itself loses to the foreign in order to rediscover what is one's own - but, loosely based on Bertolt Brecht, in a different, unexpected place.
If we don't swap (supposed) nature for art, it's because
In contrast to the natural tropisms, this is not only integrated into artistic creation, but as an understandable social practice, it has its meaning in the fact that free expression and discipline are mirrored in one another. Art can be defined directly by the process of allowing creative spontaneity and reflection to work through one another in arranged scenarios of self-awareness. In short: the reflection is already in the picture. Each picture stands on its own as a work, but for viewing it has a special appeal to follow the coordination of tension and relaxation in the serial variation of techniques or motivic "reproaches" or to engage in the permutations of the alphabet of coloristic: artistic practice summons the elemental spirits for us, lets them play and orchestrates them at the same time.

The Tropismen project is funded by the Kunstfonds Foundation as part of the NEUSTART KULTUR aid package initiated by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media. We would like to thank the foundation and its jurors for this!

© Text (2021): Galerie1214 | 2021, (eng FM, 21)

Dr. phil. Peter Kohlhaas

Digital presentation via issuu

TROPISMEN DEUTSCH PDF Originalversionstext