Mischa Kuball

Durch das Große Glas, 1999
Spiegelschrank, Video

Viewers look through two peepholes in the doors of a wardrobe, and inside it is possible to watch a 25-minute video film: everyday images of a big city. The film comprises unusual picture sequences, produced by means of a simple artistic intervention: Kuball filmed using a triple lens, i.e. through a drinking glass and through the image of the famous Large Glass of Marcel Duchamp mounted in front of his camera lens. He recorded house facades and traffic on Corneliusstraße in Düsseldorf, not far away from his studio. The bottom of the drinking glass functions as a distorting mirror or kaleidoscope and refracts the pictorial motifs. The reference to Marcel Duchamp takes this aspect to a higher level of art discourse.

A full series of works by Mischa Kuball, the “City through a Glass” films produced between 1995 and 2006, consists of camera tracking through big cities. By contrast, the enclosed wardrobe with its peepholes resembles a hybrid between a mirror and a contemporary raree show. The voyeuristic expectancy that arises when looking through a peephole in bedroom furniture is not met; the artist does not reveal any dark, concealed secrets inside the cupboard. Instead, the viewer experiences an optical sensation with historical tradition: unheard of crystalline film images of big-city activity and dynamics shine in the darkness.

Mischa Kuball (born 1959) lives and works in Düsseldorf.