Ulrike Grossarth

Prepared Table (Gedeckter Tisch), 2008

Ulrike Grossarth sets up the room provided in the museum as a camera obscura, incorporating references to historical objects. Her starting point is the first published image of a dark chamber as a camera obscura used to observe an eclipse of the sun in 1584. Here, it is noticeable that the image of the overshadowed disk of the sun outside is much more distorted in perspective than its projection in the perspective box inside. The artist takes up other strange features from historical illustrations, like the theatrical drapes that enclose a rational technical apparatus – a combination between a solar microscope and a camera obscura – from a study written by Martin Frobenius Ledermüller in 1763. Here, a fitting stage is created for the technical recording progress. In Grossarth’s scenography, the little devil from the nightmarish transparency also appears; a profane transformation of the Nachtmahr from Johann Heinrich Füssli’s pictures of the same name painted between 1781 and 1802. The motif of the painting with six burning candles came from the synagogue in Theresienstadt and points to the metaphysics of light, which is associated with the intelligible, with hope and the universally beautiful. Light and shadow images are strung across the museum space using lines of projection. All these references fill a space of associations.

Ulrike Grossarth (born 1952) lives in Berlin and Dresden.