Have you ever entered a dojo, ready to practice? First thing you have to do, right after you stepped over the threshold, is to take a deep breath and then take a bow in front of this special room. The sensation of inhaling the environments clarity and then exhaling your inner confusion is so strong that once you experienced it, it won’t leave your memory forever.
As we´ve been following Philipp Dorl’s work for almost a decade now, we already knew that it is all about concentration and transformation, but it was never as clearly visible as it is in his new work shown at Art Lacuna project space in London last week. The exhibition comes with the title Taupe, a color that is the hardest to describe. Oscillating somewhere between grey and brown it will never have an exact definition. What a great title for an art exhibition!
Taupe shows three loosely connected works, that are arranged to a minimal but room filling installation of various media and material. The concept of repetition seems to underly the exhibition as the general idea. But it is not about the draining form of repetition like the one of sitting in the tube every morning, but the more uplifting form of it, that either leads to progression or just gives you the calm feeling of security.
The most dominant piece is google-ripped image of an ideal dojo, a traditional Japanese martial arts gym, blown up to an almost wall-sized print. It is fixed like a paper background typical for an average photo studio and we like this subtle reference to the traditional role of photography as a craft. Due to the dojo’s highly geometrical architecture of recurring rectangles the image depicts more than just a room but a structure with a strong pulling effect; intensified by the doors that opens up to a white space of nothingness. In there, everything you imagine can take place.
Together with the dojo image comes a slide installation that throws a blueish color field on a wooden frame filled with a layer of crusted salt. This material stands for purity and its crystalline surface gives a beautiful reflection ground to the blue light. The projection switches on and off every fifteen minutes, giving a rhythm to the whole installation: inhale, exhale – the lifelong repetitious movement of our body.
The same wooden frames are also laid out as a grid, mirroring the structure from the wall to the ground. Here, wet salt was filled in which is changing its condition from slushy to solid during the exhibition. It’s all about transformation, you know.
The third section of the exhibition is placed in a rather secluded area of the space where two classical photographic prints in a dark, light absorbing shade are hanging towards each other in a corner. Orifices, Dorl’s latest series of photographs depicting small flint stones laying on a mirror. These apparently floating, indeterminate objects address the hidden similar to the ink blobs in a rorschach test.
Spanning from the ideal emptiness of mind, represented by the dojo, to the dense and dark areas of it, allegorized through the sharp-edged stones, Philipp’s new work shows a passage worth to take.
We want to give all our love to it.
See Philipp Dorl’s website here.
All following images are copyrighted by Philipp Dorl