press release

Tim Berresheim “Störgröße (AAWNK)”

Sep 4 – Oct 24, 2020

Ever since large areas of our social and cultural life have been impaired by the global COVID-19 pandemic, an increasing number of online opportunities has sprung up when it comes to exhibition spaces, museums, galleries, fairs and, last but not least, the artists themselves. The call for digitalization also sets the tone for those agendas of action where the developments of the past decades have systematically been ignored. Now, all channels are open for transmission, so that “art” will not sink into oblivion. Virtual gallery tours display representations of artworks, educational programs and streamed openings – mostly accompanied by the mandatory reference to the indispensable nature of the aesthetic experience of the original. Frequently, “art as usual” is exhibited, be it within the sublime anonymity of a virtual white cube or in front of an inasmuch museal as contemplative backdrop, which is supposed to keep alive the desire for the “true” genius loci . Will this, however, substantially change the way in which art is dealt with?

In the field of art, “the computer” is still a disturbance, i.e. a “Störgrösse”, of indeterminate environmental impact, a deviation which, even though perceived, nonetheless turned a blind eye to until the problem can be reduced to a more familiar solution. However the (not quite up to date) trends ranging from post-internet to post-photography have, as of yet, been breaking down the artistic positions into relations of an unspecific “digital present” and its preceding art history of painting, sculpture, photography, collage, etc. Criticizing art’s modernist fixation on material conditions, classes, genres, through rigid specificities of certain media, risks restricting image productions again within the logical barriers of an “as-if”. In that, painting, photography, collage, etc. however turn into descriptive categories who trace “new media” back to certain “archetypes” and overlook differences thereby. An art history of computer-generated art starting with the 1960s has by contrast not yet sufficiently been chronicled.

Since the early 2000s, Tim Berresheim has been one of the driving forces behind computer-based art on an international level. Through his digitally generated models of current visual cultures, with all their hybrid elements to be found in art and image history, he tries to explore immanent creative leeway, meanings and possibilities for a future artistic practice. In keeping with the current state of the art and what is technically feasible, he is always after new pictorial inventions. His artistic research combines high-tech as well as DIY mentality which were already defining characteristics of the early computer art pioneers of the 1960s or of the Homebrew computer club. His artistic archeology of the present combs through the archives of that which is already in existence. In acquiring and transforming this material, he speculates on the material’s forward-looking potential. This way, artistic practice turns into a continuous process of learning. In dealing with old media, new media’s qualities become visible, which Marshall McLuhan had as well been aware of.

Yet Berresheim’s use of laser scanners in his very complex image compositions sheds an altered light on the literal meaning of photography– in the sense of a drawing with light. Instead of catering to the aesthetic of laser scanner or computer graphics as media per se, his works facilitate reflections of the symbolic inventory of art’s historical traditions. These traditions still shape the present perception and their inherent disturbances leave speculative leeway for systematic development. While photography, analog as well as digital, always needs an unspecified amount of ambient light, shadow and image noise as well, the laser scanner aims at each and every particle in the room. A quantum leap, since waves and particles are crucial to the imaging process now. With the help of a computer, they can be as displayed as point clouds with pinpoint accuracy. In comparison with the scope of imaging given by diaphragm, length of exposure and white balance of the picture , this presents an enormous increase in level of detail and image control. In this, Berresheim does not strive for perfection, but renders it visible as a process of image production with all its, in turn, specific disturbances. Expanding the range of technical possibilities leads to the occurrence of a space in which one can work on traditional ways of seeing, conventions of representation and descriptions. Through his frequently recurring motives, Berresheim plays with traditional visual metaphors. All kinds of ghostly appearances evoke associations with the spiritualist origins of photography which explain its over- or underexposure by perception of invisible powers. Berresheim also calls for a change in existing perceptions of image and space, and, in doing so, does not limit himself to the perfect simulation of painting, photography etc. by means of a computer.

Text: Thorsten Schneider, Translation: Angela Diete