[ɛ̃fɔʁmɛl]. Jan-Peter E.R. Sonntag/Fred Thieler
20 May to 3 September 2022 ⟶ Galerie
Galerie Georg Nothelfer is pleased to present works by Fred Thieler in dialogue with works by Jan-Peter E.R. Sonntag in the show [ɛ̃fɔʁmɛl].
Fred Thieler (1916-1999) is one of the important representatives of German Informel. Fundamental to the understanding of Thieler's work is the categorical turning away from "form" in the painterly design, as well as predetermined pictorial interpretations for the viewer. This expression of freedom is articulated by the turn to abstract, gestural-dynamic painting, the "Informel", which has been carried out since the 1950s.
Jan-Peter E.R. Sonntag (*1965), who studied fine arts and music in theory and practice, began his work on space in space in the early 1990s with monochromatic gas discharge light systems and fields of standing, sinusoidal infrasound waves - also influenced by the processuality and immediacy of Informel. In his works, he combines media techniques as well as concepts and action strategies of the visual arts with concepts and playing techniques of experimental and new music.
In the exhibition Jan-Peter E.R. Sonntag shows two installations - a raum Arbeit related to the architecture of the gallery space and the context Informel and the video installation TRIPS*Equal_Loto, which is based on his AI-based oratorio of the same name for virtual speakers and musicians / ICbots in dialogue with real instrumental soloists.
Artist statement on the title [ɛ̃fɔʁmɛl]
[ɛ̃fɔʁmɛl] - the string inscribes a word sound and, through its position in the layout, points the reader to its overwriting function and at the same time to its origin: with the title Significance de l' Informel, the term 'Informel', which retrospectively summarises various positions and currents, comes into the context of art. The art critic and curator Michel Tapié formed an exhibition under this title in the Studio Facchetti in Paris in 1951 with works by the then young painters Jean Dubuffet, Jean Fautrier, Henri Michaux and Wols. By omitting the article before Significance, Significance can mean as the meaning of - as the signifiers of Informel.
"What we mean by information - the elementary unit of information - is a difference which makes a difference, and it is able to make a difference because the neural pathways along which it travels and is continuously transformed are themselves provided with energy" writes Gregory Bateson in Form, Substance and Difference - Steps to an Ecology of Mind, 1972.
I first encountered Gregory Bateson's thoughts during my studies at the same time as I encountered the practices of art and music that were based on the formation of a sense consciousness, materiality and process, and that included chance operations in the artistic calculations.
My contextual work on “raum in raum” developed from these influences and a search for traces along their figures of thought and action characterises my current work. The practices and strategies of the Western avant-gardes, which in retrospect are subsumed under the term Informel - parallel to the American term Abstract Expressionism, emerged like a then new concept of information under the direct experience of the Second World War - the Holocaust and the atomic bomb. "Information is information, not matter or energy. No materialism which does not admit this can survive at the present day" - writes Norbert Wiener in 1948 in Cybernetics: or the Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine.
The supposed lack of form in the context of abstract art, with which Tapié, among others, attempts to give a linguistic name to the painterly rejection of geometric constructive structures of pre-war abstractions, makes a connection, as if by chance, to a pre-modern concept of information, which describes a deliberate shaping of substance. Vilém Flusser describes a hand axe as a material
storage for the information cut in a pre-oral time in a lecture at the Ruhr University in Bochum in 1991.
Viewed in terms of information theory, in the artistic strategies of the Informel - the how something is
conveyed coincides with the what is conveyed: The result of the process refers solely to the formative play of the process - the traces as the result of this process: the informed material is the information.
Norbert Wiener's control theory, which emerged from the development of an automated air defence system in which servomechanics, radar technology and analogue computing interact, strictly distinguishes information from matter and energy, whereby it is the same whether the information and control processes under consideration take place in machines, animals or humans. Information materialism directs attention to the technical media conditions that shape our communication, society and thus also art.
Against the sign games of the postmodern currents in art and music in reference to the installation works of Bruce Nauman, Alvin Lucier, Dan Graham and Franz Erhard Walther, I developed the first media-technical instruments with my team around 1990, which allowed me to use standing infrasonic waves and monochromatic light to perform amorphous fields of constant sound and electromagnetic waves - like experienceable, time-based settlements in given architectural, built Euclidean spaces - raum works: The work takes place in the movement of the recipient through the artistically defined space. Art in the age of its media-technical processibility is above all an interconnection of machine techniques and body techniques - artificial and biological intelligences. It is not only the recombination of existing, traditional sign systems that is capable of artistic discourse - but the continual exploration of this interconnection that is capable of continuously expanding the sensory space. My work with sound and light - both phenomena that can be depicted, shifted, translated and processed as waves or vibrations - is a spatial art that addresses the body.
Short description of the video work by Jan-Peter E.R. Sonntag:
TRIPS*Equal_Loto / EXC1. 18min 1 ch. 4K Ultra HD video und 2 ch. sound installation
The installation is based on Jan-Peter E.R. Sonntags AI-based oratorio TRIPS*Equal_Loto in 4 acts for synthesised speech and virtual musicians / ICbots (Instant Composing bots) in interaction with 5 instrumental soloists (*Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights). With the aim of developing a production method for a contemporary and constantly regenerating oratorio, together with his team Sonntag trained an AI - like a self-learning programme with texts like strings by Elfriede Jelinek, generated a libretto from it and machine-analysed - parameterised - the speech melodies of the AI-based synthetic voices in terms of their overtone spectra and rhythms, in order to compose the instrumental music for virtual instruments from it in turn and to interweave it with human instrumental soloists in a playful way and in a real space. From the pattern-recognised sound of Jelinek's poetry, a linguistic and musical poetry was and is thus created, based on deep-learning software that knows nothing about things and processes and the words that describe them, but only learns the nature of certain sign combinations - like a human-machine meditation in sounding linguistic and instrumental sounds about machine music, languages and the voice.
ER - trombones and computer; Lars Gühlcke - double bass and sonD bass; Ignaz Schick - turntables
Oli Steidle - drum set; Biliana Voutskova - violin.
The recording was made on 6 May 2021 at WABE in Berlin.
Concept, video, text and sound composition: Jan-Peter E.R. Sonntag; camera: Anton von Heiseler; camera assistance & self-learning training: Maximilan Rummel; sound recording, mixing & mastering: Jan-Peter E.R. Sonntag; production: N-solab; production management: Lars Gühlcke.
Supported by Musikfonds e.V. with funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM).