Georg Herold

Galerie Max Hetzler

One needed imagination and humor in order to enjoy this exhibition of Georg Herold’s work. For if one approached the work with tried and true ideas about art—questions about its sublimity, pedagogic intentions, or social relevance—one would simply laugh or nod in disbelief looking at his pot holders on wooden constructions. But this laughter, coupled with a joke or even cynicism, was generally stifled by Herold’s emphasis on the triviality of our daily life.

In these pieces, Herold worked playfully with pot holders. They are quite simply the materialization of a function, free of esthetic considerations, trivial. But in Herold’s hands they were transformed into a metaphor, into a fetish. The viewer was forced to think on parallel tracks. To see objects doubly—from both sides—is Herold’s goal. The patterns, techniques, and geometries of pot holders are visualizations of a complex mathematical system—perhaps Benoit Mandelbrot’s fractals?

On the surface, crocheting was the common element of the pieces in this exhibition. It figured in the show in Russisch DNK (Russian DNK, 1993), as a monumental event in Rumänischer Topflappen (Romanian pot holder, 1993), and in the form of targets. Herold’s crocheting might seem obsessive, even absurd, but within this apparent “chaos” lurked an elusive order.

Our perception was further drawn to the mysteries of the concrete through Herold’s wooden constructions. Besitz des Künstlers (Property of the artist, 1993) was the central work of the exhibition, but it went beyond the message of the title. For actually the whole exhibit belonged to the viewer. It reflected our image-bound ideas of value, doubly founded on reality and the slippery ice of our imagination.

Norbert Messler

Translated from the German by Charles V. Miller.

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