In on-time, still life I, the first of a series of three videos, the camera films a still life: a vase on a table filled with tulips that open and then wither, a slice of bread slowly going stale on a plate, the image of a wave on a screen in the background with stock market updates appearing at the bottom. A halo of light from an unidentified source moves slowly across the image from right to left.
The still life is the result of precise technical coordination between camera, lighting and control over the monitor. It is made up of frames arranged in video sequences with no further processing.
Arnold von Wedemeyer experiments in on-time, still life I with different temporal models and tests their validity in various media. Starting with the idea of the still life, a classic theme of 17th and 18th-century art, the author cites techniques and styles such as naturalistic imitation, the deliberate arrangement of lighting, and the theme of the vanitas painting. He departs from the traditional still life, however, by injecting movement and replacing natural light with computer-generated artificial lighting, thus obtaining therefore the hyper-realistic effect of painting with highly technological means and completing the motif with the modern medium of television. In this way, three different temporal planes of experience are combined in a single image: the natural process of the tulips withering, the image moving on the screen in real time, and the movement of light in space, which is in turn technically controlled so as to imitate the flow of natural time. In addition to these formal devices, the component elements are also symbolical vessels of a coded narrative, just as they are in the classical still life. Von Wedemeyer recalls the “tulip craze” on the Dutch market for bulbs in the early 17th century that led to the first stock exchange crash in history, thus connecting his work with the age of the first still-life works also in terms of content.
Arnold von Wedemeyer (Göttingen, 1970) has taught at the academies of fine arts in Berlin and Kassel. He is currently in New York, where he is to work for a year. His works have been shown in group exhibitions at the Kunsthalle in Bremen, the Galerie im Körnerpark in Berlin, the Bienal de Arte de Cerveira in Vila Nova de Cerveira (Portugal), and the Städtische Galerie im Buntentor in Bremen. He lives and works in Berlin.