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Artists: Tamy Ben-Tor / Marnix de Nijs / Mark Formanek / Marzia Migliora / Julius Popp / Reynold Reynolds / Jens Risch / Michael Sailstorfer / Arcangelo Sassolino / Fiete Stolte

Exhibition view at Centro di Cultura Contemporanea Strozzina, Firenze
Photo: Valentina Muscedra

Exhibition view at Centro di Cultura Contemporanea Strozzina, Firenze
Photo: Valentina Muscedra

Jens Risch
Photo: CCCS, Firenze; Valentina Muscedra

Seidenstück I, 2000-2004
Filo di seta di 1000 m
Courtesy MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst,
Frankfurt am Main
Photo: Jörg Baumann

Seidenstück II, 2004-2009
Filo di seta di 1000 m, 25 interruzioni
7,8 x 8,5 x 5,7 cm
Courtesy l’artista; Fine German Gallery, Frankfurt am Main
Photo: Jörg Baumann

Risch is a conceptual sculptor who with marked minimalism seeks to reduce his own subjectivity and artistic intervention as far as possible. His methodical and repetitive work on matter betrays no signs of formal planning. The shape of Risch's objects exclusively depends on the characteristics of the material chosen and on the physical tension produced during the tying process. While the artist's mode of operation is always the same, the results he reaches are always different, each constituting something unique that cannot be predicted on the bases of the variables at play. Risch's knotty objects represent a starting point for him to explore their affinities and parallels with different areas that lie outside the field of everyday human experience. Risch has thus discovered optic and structural analogies with so-called cosmic dust-particles formed by only a few molecules floating in the universe, which lie at the origin of processes such as the birth of stars and planets or the very creation of matter (which human beings themselves are also made of). Over the years, the artist has kept a diary scrupulously recording the work he performs every day for several hours. This recording allows Risch to draw inventories of the methods he uses and of quantifying how much work he has carried out, in what time and with what results. What he appears to be creating is something similar to the timesheets which companies make their employees fill in to measure, evaluate and increase their productivity levels. It takes Risch years to complete each of his works. This represents an alternative organizational model for our lives and a consciously non-conformist attitude, one that goes against acceleration and constitutes a sort of eulogy of slowness. Risch's knots, then, are a way of testifying to the infinitely slow passing of time and of recording it. The final shape of his works is a sort of coagulated time. The repetitiveness and methodical character of Risch's work seem to provide the right means for him to engage in a meditation of sorts. The sculptor focuses on the pure and simple act of tying knots, refusing to resort to any system that might accelerate his work. The result is a creative process that seems to find its founding value in slowness. Still, this does not mean the artist wastes time or makes pointless use of it. On the contrary, Risch manages to re-evaluate time through a new and synthetic re-appropriation of it that goes against the excessive speed imposed by modern society.

Exhibition view at Centro di Cultura Contemporanea Strozzina, Firenze
Photo: Valentina Muscedra

Jens Risch (Germany, 1973)

Each work of the Seidenstück consists of a single silk threat about one kilometre in length, which the artist has woven, knot after knot, into an inextricable tangle: "I tie knots on a thread until no more can be tied" (Jens Risch). By the end of the first phase of this work, the thread has already been shortened by one third of its original length. A second phase then begins in which Risch continues tying his knots. The end product is a highly concentrated and dense object the size of a fist, resulting from a series of passages. The artist describes these different phases as "generations": an allusion to the field of biology that by invoking the idea of filiation illustrates the various phases in the creation of the work.

Seidenstück III, 2007-2010
Filo di seta di 900 m (100 m nero / 800 m bianco),
2 interruzioni
8,5 x 6 x 6,5 cm
Courtesy l’artista; Galerie smallspace, Berlin
Photo: Jörg Baumann

Palazzo Strozzi