Critics’ Picks

Konstellation Algorithmus Adlerflug 100 Adler, Strom, Himmelsrichtung, Windrichtung, Windstärke (Constellation Algorithm of 100 Eagles' Flight, Electricity, Sky Direction, Wind Direction, and Wind Strength), 2008, graphite and ink on paper, 45 x 85 13/16".


Jorinde Voigt

Galerie Fahnemann
Fasanenstrasse 61
March 30–May 17, 2008

The artist Hanne Darboven once said of her work “Ich schreibe, aber ich beschreibe nichts; ich schreibe, aber ich lese nicht,” which translates roughly to “I scribe [write], but I do not describe anything; I write but I do not read anything.” In their quietness and concentration, as well as in their resolutely abstract quality, Jorinde Voigt’s diagrammatic systems act similarly and are reminiscent of Darboven’s tables and drawings. The seismographic notations of “movement” in Voigt’s works on paper seem to stem from a belief that reality is accessible to us only through its transcription into systematic form.

Voigt appears to believe that the numerical concepts behind her minimalist drawings can be extended ad infinitum. Of course, any attempt to illustrate the totality of life will necessarily fail: As such, as a pursuit approaches infinity, the endpoint recedes ever further; indeed, such quests, whether undertaken in the name of science or of art, create their own reality. But while Darboven seems determined to overcome chaos by sheer force, imposing order onto it with her systems, Voigt attempts instead to capture on paper the paradox of the numerical represention of reality itself. As the press material notes, in Voigt’s coordinate systems “irregularity becomes pattern.”

Her drawings, dense accumulations of lines, curves, and arcs in pencil and ink on paper, depict physical movement and invisible forces, often at the same time: In one work, the flight of one hundred eagles, in algorithmic form, is represented alongside electric impulses, the points of the compass, and the direction of wind currents. Such attempts to wrestle with the immeasurable are in one sense doomed: The lines collapse into graphical excessiveness. They appear exact yet get ahead of themselves and cross paths, generate new lines, jump across to new sheets of paper, and imagine new forms—without ever coming to satisfactory, logical conclusions. Ultimately, though, they create a space of possibility that harbors the power to become a world unto itself.

Translated from German by Jane Brodie.