Mediamatic Magazine 3#2 Preikschat, Wolfgang 1 Jan 1988

Maria Vedder in Museum Ludwig Klaus vom Bruch in Museum Abteiberg

The critic who is used to looking thoughtfully out of the window during train journeys, will currently meet an astonishing number of works of the familiar rectangular format. Travelling from city to city he becomes, if he only wants to, the touring visitor
of one dispersed exhibition of video installations. Among the large number of bread-and-butter exhibitions, the video installations seem a real treat. I lately feel like a kid, looking for hidden Easter eggs.

In September I was particularly successful along my favourite route from Amsterdam along the Rhine: SIMON BIGGS' The Golum in Utrecht, MADELON HOOYKAAS' and ELSA STANSFIELD'S From the Museum of Memory VII in Arnhem, MARIA VEDDER'SPAL or Never the Same Color in Cologne and - a bit off the main track - KLAUS VOM BRUCH'S Radarraum in Monchengladbach.
Since I have been complaining so much, I almost felt obliged to say something positive
as encouragement which is always appreciated by artists, especially when expressed
with a certain conviction, as is the case with MARIA VEDDER and KLAUS VOM BRUCH.
(This is by no means a depreciation of SIMON BIGGS' or HOOYKAAS/STANSFIELD'S
work, since I have not been able to see the latter one, whereas I'd like to see SIMON'S
installation in a more apt space than the inconsiderate CONFERENCE CENTER in
However questionable the curatorial practices and the competence of the MUSEUM LUDWIG regarding video, it gave MARIA VEDDER another opportunity to expand her word into areas relatively new to her, such as performance and video installation.
Whoever had the confidence in MARIA'S (and everyone's, who worked with her) abilities,
should at least be satisfied with the result of the installation (I was not able to see the performance scheduled for October 5). It rises five sets high from the bottom of the
lower exhibition space to the ground floor level, attracting both the visitors of the photography-exhibition, to which it is the opening act, as well as the crowd, who's merely
out for a glass of wine or a piece of cake at the cafeteria. One of the 25 monitors is set
aside as if for repair. The rectengular wall is programmed so that the mosaic image is divided in two: a three-by-three square image stands out against the remaining monochrome screens.
The pictorial part of the installation consists of three sequences, each of which refers
to one of the three basic colors, red-green- blue, of the additive color-mix. The other screens show a consecutive shift in color through the spectrums of each basic color. The three-by-three image in the upper left corner shows a translation of colors into symbols signified through geometric forms or images of objects: thus red corresponds with a triangle and is related to love, fire and the peacock. Green is seen together with nature, the circle, water and the eagle. Blue is combined with a semicircle, air and an elephant, corresponding with the blue flower of romanticism.
Interspersed is historic Tv-footage such as the logo for color-broadcasts, when black
and white was still the common format. The logo consisted of an evolving flower ornament
with a character-insert in Farbe (in color). In spite of its conventional and simple form it reminds me very much of the flower-pop era of the sixties. In another sequence a woman demonstrates the difference between PAL(left half of the image) and NTSC(Never The Same Color)(right half), which was at that time considered as inferior to the European standard, because of its instable transmission properties. The installation was commissioned to remind of the introduction of the PAL-TV-standard some 25 years ago.
The sound (by UWE WIESEMANN and GERHARD ZILLIGEN) is ambient, while processed TV-sounds like the news-show-jingle and rhythm give it a prickly touch. My appreciation of the installation has to do with the many things that could have gone
wrong. VEDDER'S almost pragmatic approach to associate technique (turned into skill) with philosophy (as visual expression) guides her safely between blunt symbolism
and self-reference. With all its simplicity, visuality and taste it is a suitable introduction
into not only a photography-exhibition but also into videography - photography's probable
Compared to MARIA VEDDER'S in stallation, which was actually the bigger surprise
due to the expansion in format and scope which supports her recognition as an artist - KLAUS VOM BRUCHs Radarraum is much more a confirmation of continuity. The
subject matter of the radar room is the occupation of space by an invisible medium.
As in VOM BRUCH'S other transmitter-receiver- installations the medium consists of radio
signals , in this case ultrasonic impulses used for fish detection. The source is a canshaped device, integrated into a rotating radar antenna which hangs from the ceiling.
The reflexes of the signal are translated into color graphics on three monitors with
screens turned upwards. They indicate locationand intensity of objects/visitors. This
simplest of interactive set-ups makes the visitor appear as a disturbance or turbulence
of the existing invisible wave pattern.
Both MARIA VEDDER'S and VOM BRUCH'S installation are of a persuasive elegance.
The latter is, however, more technical and deals less with symbolization and metaphorization (thus giving the author of a short text for the catalogue a hard time). The ambiguity between the functional and the formal dimension of the work is increased by the scissor gratings of the radar construction and the monitor casing which contribute to the lightness of the objects and the transparency of the installation. The viewer is thereby left suspended between elasticity and volatility.