Romana Scheffknecht

Galerie Fricke

Romana Scheffknecht has worked with video since the early ’80s. Many of her works were developed in collaboration with colleagues who contributed sound or text. The interrelation of sound and text is hardly evident in her most recent works: in X-Ray, 1990, for example, Scheffknecht projected the image of an X onto three panes of glass in an iron frame, the last of which was painted black to create an endless projection. In this show, the color video Die Augen (The eyes, 1994, a version of the piece presented in 1987) was presented on a monitor that stood on a tripod, which scanned the space so that the viewer’s gaze intersected with that of the monitor.

“1900–2000,” also the title of the exhibition, is a series that encompasses many works including Die Augen, Die Philosophen (The philosophers, 1991–94) and Ein Blick auf die Welt (A view of the world), which were exhibited here. The Philosophers is comprised of 14 large-format video stills that appear as the background onto which a slide show of these same portraits is projected. Major philosophers of the 20th century—from Wittgenstein, Adorno, and Benjamin to Lévi-Strauss, Barthes, and Foucault—peer from the wall. These images transform the border of the space into a frieze, just as they mark the ideological framework of the century. The handwritten names offer hints as to the identity of those pictured, but because they are written backwards by Scheffknecht they are difficult to decipher without using a mirror. Ein Blick auf die Welt is part of the portrait of Adorno, comprised of four slide projections showing Sils Maria, Switzerland, where Adorno died and Nietzsche spent a good part of his life.

Sabine B. Vogel

Translated from the German by Charles V. Miller.