Order and accident, meticulousness and impulsivity, drawing excess and graphic reduction are just some of the vibrant tension-loaded polarities that characterize the complex and large-sized drawings of German artist Jorinde Voigt (b. 1977).
In the dynamic sequences of strokes, turbulently curving lines, diagrammatic structures, numbers, word fragments, and collaged color areas of her drawings—which the passionate cello-player refers to as “scores” or “notations”—numerous widely different elements of the cultural environment condense. Pop songs or pieces of classical music, temperature profiles, wind directions, arcs of light are systematically analyzed by the artist, as are acoustic impulses, angles of view, or colors of individual plants and the contents of philosophical texts. Following measureable parameters like time, place, or sound volume as well as self-defined rules or selected algorithms, Voigt combines these elements and impressions of reality into dynamic relational structures. Her works thus become something like “highly sensitive projection surfaces” (Andrew Cannon) of individual and collective experience.
“What, to others, is color, to me is cultural material,” the artist describes the fundamental principle of her work in which she draws on elements which, as Voigt puts it, are “socially symbolic in character or defining for the description of civilization and its environs.” By not examining these symbol-laden fragments of reality not in their outward manifestations, but translating them into structures based on rhythms, movements, and the flow of time, she lets viewers take an unexpected look into experienceable if invisible phenomena of a many-layered reality.
At the same time, Voight’s abstract drawings are not only reflections of a cultural environment in constant change, but also afford an insight into the artist’s personal sphere of thought and imagination. And not least they serve—contrary to the way they seem to fall back an aesthetic of the scientific—the expression and exploration of the fabric of intimate interpersonal relationships, emotions and sensations. This is an aspect of her work that can be traced from the early series “2 küssen sich” (“2 Kissing,” 2006) all the way up to her most recent works. In the latter, philosophical texts like Niklas Luhmann’s Love as Passion. The Codification of Intimacy are used as triggers to unfold inner visual worlds and associative spaces which are placed by Voigt in a subtle matrix, as is typical of her work.
The artist’s largest solo exhibition to date in Austria impressively demonstrates how Jorinde Voigt succeeds in each of her works to create a polyphony of different readings of the world that evoke countless associations and varying sensations in viewers.