Innovative Bildwelten 06
Jakob Kupfer – Lichtbildner
Thursday, October 28th, 2021, 7 pm to 11 pm
October 29th, 2021 to January 8th, 2022
Jakob Kupfer is a photographer, a »light artist«, in the most traditional of senses. His medium and themes are light and the question of how light can become artistically effective. He is guided by what the medium of light makes available to him and demands of him. By exploring the conditions and effects of light, he creates works that may represent nothing but themselves in their non-objectivity, but which reach far deeper in their perception.
Non-objectivity and permanent change are essential characteristics of light as we perceive it in everyday life. It opens up the world to us, determines our rhythm and influences our state of mind. For art, the medium of light, like music, opens up the possibility of working both space- and time-based - for example, to develop a painting that also takes place in time.
This duality runs through Jakob Kupfer's work on many levels and in many manifestations: he avoids the term light painter, but defines his Lichtbilder (light paintings) as paintings because they are singular. For his time-based works, he uses techniques of film, but then frames the images thus set in motion as singular paintings as well. In an installation-like manner, the Lichtspiele (light plays) leave the frame of the painting on the wall and interact both with the surfaces and with the changing light situations in the room. Partly produced with cinematic means, the result is nevertheless not a film, but again light that continuously paints in space. Kinetic light objects appear as framed pictures, but, like the light sculptures, they involve the viewers and their movement and position in the space.
Jakob Kupfer not only dissolves the conventional genre boundaries but also the demarcation between the work and the viewer and adds a further, time-related aspect: the invitation to pause, to take time, to actively perceive and to observe oneself perceiving. For what the viewers who engage with it perceive has less to do with the appearance of the work. It is essentially shaped by the moment and by the inner images, memories, fantasies and emotions of the viewer.
Jakob Kupfer's Lichtbilder are snapshots of the light in the space between us and things. One could also say: they make the light visible on its way from the reflecting object to the perceiving subject. The multiform traces of colour and light form resonance spaces in which we can experience what happens to our perception as soon as we get involved in the pure flow of light without explanatory contours. Nonrepresentational, they bypass our filter of rationality and thus open the view to our own emotions, images and truths and to perception itself.
Jakob Kupfer also composes the multi-layered scores of FADES from light images, thus adding another dimension to the classical image as a spatial work: that of time. Like natural light, a FADE is constantly changing. The first impression of a framed, stable picture is lost in the next moment. But even the attempt to follow the transformation fails. It is so subtly that only the changed image seems to be perceptible, but not the change itself. The abundance of images that arise in the work as well as in the viewer allows us to experience transience as a gain and to rediscover the value of taking time to enjoy something unique because it is transient. And just as you can't get into the same river twice, we always see a FADE with different eyes, even if it is technically repeated after a certain time. Our perception renews itself, changes and evolves, and so does the work.
In the kinetic light objects, Jakob Kupfer takes up the credo of concrete photography and finds new forms of expression of the concrete light image from the perspective of the light photographer. The unique objects formed from light flow and refraction, permeability and change not only change on the time axis but also with the viewer's point of view - and not in a figurative sense but in an actual spatial sense.
For the recording of the ECHOS, Jakob Kupfer uses one of the oldest methods of photographic design: the cyanotype process developed in 1842. Unlike classical cyanotypes, however, the ECHOS are neither prints from negatives nor photograms of applied forms, but unique works painted directly onto the paper with sunlight and time. What remains on the paper after development is an echo of the light and the elapsed moment in Berlin blue.
Like diary entries, Jakob Kupfer collected the traces over long periods of time with which the sunlight - if it was strong enough - "inscribed" itself. The result so far: 389 Lichtzeichnungen (light drawings), each one an individual signature, as unmistakable and unique as the day it was created. But it is not only the different continuous traces of sunlight of the individual days that are inscribed. The rising and falling traces of the earth's orbit around the sun - our central source of light - can also be read.
Oscillating between spatial object and floating drawing, the light sculptures appear extremely present and yet fleeting. Protected in an acrylic glass cylinder, the fragile forms of light float without revealing their sources or their static structures, as if in a glass of water, corresponding with the influences of the surrounding space. In its outward appearance, a stable sculpture that points in all directions; inside, a fluid form that seems to configure itself differently from every angle.