martin eugen raabenstein

molding earth

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fracturing a letter

drawing with water

the dusty smell of chalk, the creeping evaporation of water on the half-heartedly cleaned blackboard and a threatening, unknown message, cast in large letters, that is the beginning of the battle. read all

don’t think it, ink it

being and showing

the images of art are symbolic objects because they themselves are that which they show, and conversely, because they transform that which they are into an act of showing – a showing of something, and at the same time a showing of themselves. this junction of showing and being occurs because artistic images are structures of action. the actions that produce the artwork are at the same time actions that the artwork exhibits by presenting them as part of itself as a trace. this is particularly true since artistic modernity broke with the illusionism that, in traditional art, hid the mediality of the artwork itself beneath the act of showing something outside the image – the “outside the image” that, according to the famous renaissance metaphor, became visible through the “open window” of the image. the modern re-foundation of the image as the junction of being and showing, which closed the “open window,” has far-reaching semantic consequences. if in traditional art was primarily a matter of recognising the thing shown in its layers of meaning – as is reflected in all the complex iconographic commentaries via which such artworks are decoded – art is now less concerned with understanding the thing shown, but showing itself and hence the structure of actions that, in the modern artwork, is both a physical and a symbolic occurrence. read all

interview with ruprecht von kaufmann

rvk – you turned your back on the art world for many years. what were the reasons for this?

raa – i did not abandon the art world in the classical sense, i felt that the prescribed paths were somewhat boring. i had started to exhibit in the security sectors in the mid-nineties. the spatial occupation and the artistic possession of these areas, through the presentation of my work, raised the eminently interesting question of the value and availability of art. disinvitation cards informed the public of the location, time and number of exhibited works. because private persons were denied access to these areas, those who had been uninvited had to visualize the exhibition for themselves.

rvk – what exactly happened?

raa – ‚pioneering security‘ was an unequivocal success, however in unexpected areas. even the first of these installations lead to a physical confrontation, the doctors in a berlin hospital were in total disagreement about the works presented in the operating theatres. the works were unceremoniously removed after a brawl in which some of the works were badly damaged. the logical conclusion to this reaction were the ‚pioneers security‘ actions, the security of the pioneer was assured by sealing the work in a box. cultivable land, bookshelves and industrial production sites were conquered by installations of these boxes. this series would be no longer possible today after the events of the 11th of september and the resulting security measures. for example, a metal box with contents unknown to the company directors of mercedes benz ag was encased in the concrete fundaments factory hall under construction in their main factory in sindelfingen. this would be totally unthinkable today for the reasons given above. the ‚engineering security‘ project forms the third part of the security series. a virtual security area was constructed together with arup and archimation in one of the houses under construction in potsdamer platz in berlin. the bureau of sir richard rogers provided the requisite plans. my exploration of artistic media had thus come to its conclusion, there was no going back to hanging art on walls in conventional locations. so i started to look for other media. read all

the pioneering projects

art and security

since 1994 raabenstein is engaged with a series of works, configured and shown in rooms outside the established exposure of art. although the artist increasingly dealt with these locations, the presented works medium there is still painting, respectively drawing. the object displayed is a graphic figurine, a transforming and transformed characterisation of himself, an alter ego.

the figure is covering almost all of raabensteins works and generally overlaped with multiple layers of enamel varnish. the underlaying presentation of the person is sealed in the material. ironically these „locking“ materials are permeable: plastic film, glue, synthetics and rubber. matter that indicates even more the „treasures“ they overcast with their translucency. this technique of paintings principle of operation is duplicated within the presentation skill of his works in the pioneering security and pioneers security projects. read all

composing silence

slowcream. and

where would we be without our hands? our lives are full of commonplace experience in which the hands are so skillfully and silently involved that we rarely consider how dependent upon them we actually are, upon this ability to change the world simply by realizing that underlying language, intellect, and intelligence is the understanding that comes from hands on experience. read all

lagerfeltz. aar#001

taken from the lagerfeltz album ‚aar‘

released on nonine recordings in 2010

(original version)