Kirsten Mosher

Martina Detterer

Kirsten Mosher’s work revolves around context: context as a catalyst, as a material, and as a defining force in the reception of art. None of these aspects can claim priority over the others; neither the allusion to intention, nor the presentation of a three-dimensional form, nor the situation that develops for the viewer can be seen without reference to the context.

If one can even speak of an artwork’s genesis, one could say that for Mosher it is determined by an act of choice. The arena of choice is that of everyday information and communication processes, encompassing various kinds of language—for instance, different systems for identifying war materials—as well as more broadly conceived systems like transportation or politics. Choice becomes displacement. The chosen objects are removed from their context, exposing their commodity character and lack of orientation in terms of context and as objects. Displacement does not concern the gallery space as a nexus for the exchange of artworks; rather, it is a place where the objects develop their own inherent signlike universality, transforming the space as it modifies them.

Mosher created an installation here consisting of 19 barricade fences surrounding a videotape on a small monitor. The fences, some of them linked together, form an irregular circle. Each barrier has the same round opening—large enough to let a human body through, but this penetrability is illusory, for the escape through the barriers leaves one revolving within the circle. Tunnel Barrier, 1991, bars escape. Likewise, the video takes up this theme and varies it. Mosher used a camera as a second eye. On the video screen there appears the panorama of a forest obstructed by branches; a back-and-forth movement constantly revolves in a circle, thus indicating closure. Mosher’s work can be understood in relation to Situationist art (and she would certainly not deny such connections), but it has its own, particular quality due to the objects she chooses and the political thematization.

Achim Wollscheid

Translated from the German by Leslie Strickland