artist / participant
From the very onset of her pictorial-sculptural work in 1987, Ulrike Grossarth"s thoughts and formulations have revolved around the representations of different bodily states of matter that can be attributed to diverse mental fields.
Based on questions arising from these issues, she has succeeded in initiating materializing processes that at times take years, by realizing sculptural milieus with the aim of exploring their "ways of working".
These processes are often triggered by themes related to the history of ideas or art; facts, then, that influence our thoughts and actions and, generally speaking, shape our lives.
Coming from dance herself, she deals, in her "models of the world", with the status conceded to the body, or more precisely, to the models, constructions and notions of bodies that serve abstract, detached systems as "potentials of transition" and thus mark embodiments of and stations in dispositions of thought.
She is interested in the extent to which corporeality plays a role in constructing ideal systems and in the forms, shapes and figures that play a role in this context and she is fascinated, for instance, by objects that stem from philosophical systems and wander about as ghostly phenomena in society"s popular informational knowledge, e.g., Kant"s "Thing-in-itself" (BAU I, 1987–2005), Leibniz"s "Monad" (Leibnizprojekt,1999 – 2003) and René Descartes" "res extensa" and "res cogitans", his division of the human being into a mechanically functioning organism and a soul, which he used to construct the original differentiation between mind and matter, on which all theoretical thought was then based.
In her show, Ulrike Grossarth works with interweaving and adapting various "canned cultural artefacts".
For example, the picture volumes of the Encyclopaedia d"Alembert & Diderot, which in 1751 endeavoured to align all fields of human knowledge in a logical and genetic context. More than 800 pages depict all sorts of workshops and the analytical listing of all tools and tool components.
"I view the forms of the encyclopaedia as allegories in the sense of a causally shaped, technical conception of the world. They are objects of rational calculation, of a mode of thought that is most strikingly characterised by division". (Ulrike Grossarth
Further sources include geometrical figures (figura entis) from the work of Giordano Bruno (1548 – 1600), whose pivotal theme was the infiniteness of the universe, the living cosmic unity, which, according to Bruno, maintains itself in the diversity of permanent reversal, in the interaction of differences.
Ulrike Grossarth: occidental thinking machines