Arnold Dreyblatt: Memory Now
In his installations, performances and multimedia works, Arnold Dreyblatt creates complex spatial and textural metaphors on recollection and the archive. This exhibition focuses on two existing works and one new work which has been created especially for the this exhibition in Torino. All of the works refer to the process of individual and collective memory, as perceptual trace, as archival trace, as archaeological trace.
"Flashbulb Memory" was only shown once in 2002 in Berlin. Three wall-mounted stroboscopes with text on film. The work is displayed in a darkened space and the stroboscopes flash in a staggered six second sequence. At the moment of the stroboscopic flash, one is blinded, only to read the texts in their "afterimage". The three texts: "FRAME FREEZE", "EVENT RECALL" and "NOW PRINT" all refer to the three phases in the perceptual theory of Flashbulb Memory, in which the individual consciousness "meets" the collective experience during a moment of national or international significance (Kennedy's assassination, September 11, 2001). The brain seems to "freeze" and "print" the memory cues necessary for retrieval.
"The T Documents" contains 81 chronological archive documents and is one of a number of related works and projects in differing media derived from over 4,000 intelligence documents from State Archives in Europe and North America from the inter-war period which have been collected by the artist. These documents reveal the life of "T" (b. 1879 Paks, Hungary - d. 1943 Shanghai, China), a forgotten Central European historical figure whose multiple identities span three continents (Europe, North America and Asia) and touch on many of the most important events of the pre-war period. The collection contains daily reports and correspondances between 1915 and 1943, forming a vast communication network in which the official traces and observations of one individual are cross-referenced to historical events, international personalities and geographic locations.
In the installation "The T Documents" (1992), the artist's personal selection of 81 original archive documents have been digitized and faked by specially developed printing techniques applied to the reverse side of East German archival pages. The documents are displayed in chronological order in transparent envelopes hanging on metal hooks.
The new work, "Speak Stones", contains texts which are derived from ancient roman epigraphic inscriptions and an anonymous early latin text on memory-technics, "Rhetorica ad Herennium", often attributed to Cicero (1st Cent. B.C.). This work is related to Dreyblatt's previous series, "Epigraphica Ephemeris" which was recently shown in an exhibition of works referring to Walter Benjamin: "Translation, Text as Image" at the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin in 2006-2007. Lenticular technology was chosen for these works as an interactive means of display. Each work contains up to five text layers, which are viewable as text fragments from varying viewing positions, and which seem to 'overwrite' each other as in a 'palimpsest'.
"Speak Stones" is presented as a high-tech frieze on two of the long walls of the gallery and is intened to be experienced in movement. The fragmentary stone inscriptions are given a 'voice' in our perceptions as we navigate the space.
Arnold Dreyblatt is a musician and composer, as well as visual artist. He was born in New York, 1953, and lives in Berlin since 1984. He exhibited twice at Hamburger Banhof, as well as at the Stadtgalerie in Saarbrücken at the Arken Museum for Modern Art in Copenhagen and at the Jewish Museum in New York. Since last year he has a permanent installation on the facade of the Olocast Museum in Oslo. He was recently elected member of prestigious Berlin's Akademie der Künste, an insitution who also counts renowned international artists such as: Bruce Nauman, Daniel Libeskind, Tony Cragg, Christina Kubisch, Tacita Dean, Richard Serra, Rebecca Horn.
"Memory Now" takes place at the new art space blank, via Reggio 27, Torino.