Nils Levin Sehnert
November 12 - December 3, 2022
Saturday, November 12, 2022 6 - 8pm
"Please do not touch" is generally the usual consensus when dealing with exhibits in exhibition spaces of any kind. Even when dealing intensively with the works, this creates a certain distance to the visitor. In his theory of the „Bildakt", art historian Horst Bredekamp also talks about the defined effect on the visitor, which can be experienced through various senses - only the act of tactile grasping is left out in most cases to protect the artistic artefact.
Already during his studies at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, Nils Levin Sehnert encountered the special features of thermochromic paint and discovered them for his works. Initially, he created paintings that were explicitly intended to touch the viewer. The colour of the painting changes through the body heat of the person touching it. This colour change is a reversible process that takes place in the molecular structure of the colour pigments. For his exhibition in the Nails projectroom, Nils Levin Sehnert has conceived a site-specific, space-consuming installation that combines the various aspects of his previous investigations. The walls and floor of the exhibition space are treated with the paint, transforming the space into an experimental walk-in sculpture.
Amorphous organic structures that sprout from the walls and corners of the room overlay the existing architectural structure of the exhibition space, creating a new sense of space. The monochrome vivid colour underlines the organic character of the installation, although it remains unclear what material and materiality the surface is made of. The iridescent changing colour evokes associations of fleshiness, corporeality, or organs, but also brings to mind the idea of distant planets.
By tactile grasping, the visitor actively changes the surface of the sculpture and thus participatively alters the visuality of the room installation, becomes part of the installation through the activation of the material and actively assumes power over the work.
At the same time, special UV lamps in combination with a special photochromic paint on the walls ensure that the shadows of the visitors are made visible for a few seconds - this too is a reversible state that leaves a futuristic, almost ghostly impression.
Sehnert extends the two-dimensionality of his previous works, brought about by painting, into three-dimensional space and thus confronts the questions and challenges of site-specific spatial installations, such as how to deal with volume, materiality, structure, and surface in relation to the given space. The resonance space is to be understood here as the space in which the visitor leaves the usual habitual boundaries and actively intervenes in the process.
Credits by Kai Werner Schmidt