YEAR: 1996



Collection of the artist

Sammlung Deutsche Bibliothek, Frankfurt am Main


Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Permanente Installation, 12 Oct 1996


The Paintings

The installation consists of three paintings arranged in the shaft, one above the other and three displays on three floors with 28 commentaries- sketches about these paintings. All three paintings represent the evolution of the same painting. The lower painting is covered virtually entirely by dirt on its entire surface, so that the depiction on it is barely discernible. The second one hangs above the first and replicates it, but this one is cleaner, without ‘dirt.’ This is a painting with a white background on which is a symmetrical drawing with a text in the upper corners and objects in the center and along the edges. The third painting is even ‘cleaner,’ ‘washed’: like the dirt from the first painting, the symmetrical drawing has been ‘washed away’ from this one, leaving only one object that, by the way, is quite small and from a distance might appear to be simply some unwashed dirt left from the first painting. All three paintings are of the same size, 2.56 x 4.35 meters, and they are all done on masonite, covered with white enamel. They are all without frames.

The Commentaries

Arranged on three floors are display cases with 28 commentaries and sketches by people who have walked out of the reading room to rest a bit. In the lower display are commentaries, each of which interprets in its own way the ‘problem’ of the dirt splattered painting, the concealing of meaning, etc. Each text and sketch belongs to a specific ‘personage’: philosopher, historian, art critic, etc. In the middle and upper displays are texts about the ‘symmetrical’ painting and its meaning, as well as texts about the ‘white’ painting and what the ‘spot’ on it signifies: commentaries of art criticism, of a psychological and a metaphysical nature. As can be seen from this description, the overall appearance of the installation is that it is an artistic object with a multitude of interpretations and investigations of it, and the overall meaning is that of movement toward the ‘light,’ toward pureness, purification from filth.

The Display Cases

The display cases are arranged along a semi-circular barrier, right up against it. All three semicircular display cases are made of high-quality wood made to look ‘antique’ but of simple construction, like those found in old respectable libraries. The overall color is light brown, and the glass in it is placed at an angle with the commentaries and sketches lying underneath it horizontally, illuminated by special bulbs so they can be read.

The Wall of the Shaft

The wall of the shaft from the top to the very bottom should remain the same as it was during the construction process, that is, in gray concrete, not covered by anything and unfinished. The holes should be left in the concrete unchanged. This untouched concrete is very important for the overall appearance of the installation.

Lighting on the Floors

The light from artificial bulbs should be such that it doesn’t interfere with the main, natural light coming from inside the ‘shaft.’


The uniqueness of the triangular vertical ‘shaft’ proposed for the installation consists in the special dynamic of light that is already architecturally present in it. This light, flowing from high above, is distributed in such a way that only the upper part of the shaft is illuminated, down below there is less and less light. This changing illumination served as the basis for both the idea and structural composition of the installation.



1996Megan BartonComment