Transformed Circles

stainless steel different hand formed unique pices

2015: Object

Whoever may attend this exhibition, whoever navigates this small space with a few steps, has both won and lost, for whoever does so becomes part of the room's programme, and this happens whether he wishes it to or not. It just happens, irrespective of whether he considers the term ''Concept Art'' a phantom of a troubled mind or an acceptable appropriation. Regardless of the position we choose to reveal ourselves in, we must recognise one thing: Even as guests of this gallery-opening, we are part of the material concept, into which Katrin Süss inserts us. Even as a sceptic observer we are active participants, notwithstanding of how we regard this inevitable integration - consciously or unwittingly, affirmatively or defensively, be it with the relaxed stance of an eyebrow-raising of an arts-scene veteran or with the genuine naiveté of one who will still wonder, love and learn, even when he claims his place in this commercialised world.

To be an unsolicited part of an alien concept is to most of us experienced as a daily nightmare, yet here it hits a nerve which, in the light of Katrin Süss's objects and works, might also be considered an artistic encircling in another dimension. One cannot escape this suggestively enacted circle, even if we provokingly question the meaning lurking behind this easily ascertained construction of paper, steel and iron scraps, and if this arrangement is capable of unleashing intensities, which, much like any felicitous artwork, bring our rigid episteme into question.

Seemingly contrary, inappeasable intentions, temporarily connected in a sensory system offered up by the artist – onto this formula, one could project such a desired conceptual consequence. Her project, as the artist and gallerist phrased it in the press release, tries to epitomise an underlying holistic feeling, in the centre of which lies a togetherness of man, nature, and cosmos.

It requires a certain courage to say such a thing and to mean something entirely different. In contemporary society, the term holism has long since become little more than a phantom. One of the reasons being that this guiding concept lacks utopian practice and can at best be applied to commercialism and aberrations that are met with irony, asceticism, and condescendence. One has to agree: Whether in the promises of molecular gastronomy and physical selfimprovement, whether in the propaganda of the medical insurance companies or through the advertising catchphrases of the psycho-industries which have reached the backstreets of Dresden Neustadt – the cooperation of pervasion and obscurity is inevitable. The term "completeness" has in our environment established itself as a leading wordmark, and the conceptual pair "systemic work" occurs as an indifferent program, suggesting a restoration of this lost "completeness." Consequently, the whole and the healed are confronted with the sick and narcissistic world of which the depressing emblem is the dismissal of utopia, even though this resort to "systemic work" is not just a testimony of a linguistic imposition, but also evidence of historic unlearning. The errings of cybernetics could therfore not have existed.

Katrin Süss is most definitely concerned with completeness. To realise this, one does not have to be an expert, either of everyday life or of the assembled milieu of connaissieurs or of art history. A glance at the central symbolism - onto the pictorially artistic thematisation of spiral and circle will suffice.

The spiral, a constant artistic symbol for spiritual strength, here stands for a text message poured into heavy lead. Whoever wishes to explore this space must confront the spiral. He must learn to spell out, to spin a yarn, to liberate his imagination in order to gain word and meaning from the seemingly random sequence of letters. The letters, altogether weighing 450 kilos, bear a sentence conceived by the Spanish artist Cesar Manrique - "the magic of hidden beauty." (More on this artist as inspiration for Süss's works later.) The spiral is in possession of another sensory plane, which circles around back towards the artist. However, considering the broader history of symbols, the spiral stands for a process that every shift, every alteration depends upon - the collapse as anticipation of the unfolding of the self.

The presence of the circle as a second symbol-bearer of the exposition needs no particular elevation. Be it with high or low pressure, on a barrel or in rolled-up paper, be it in the audible medium or in the row of iron circles cast in molten iron at 1600 degrees celsius - the circle is the ordering principle, metaphor and iconic repertoire all at once serving as a central pictorial idea. The symbolically exploited circle often used ad nauseum in advertisements, esoterism and everyday speech, here gains a new definition and is, as the spiral suggests, cleansed of instrumentally symbolic politics. In ancient times the circle already stood for integrity and eternity, often symbolising the sun and the dome of the sky. It can assert shelter, hermeticism and transcendence. The circle stands for a united line against pragmaticism and the infringement of economic power. However, in the true sense of the picture, it is also a barrier against the failing "quadrature of the circle", trying in vain to establish a beginning and an end within the flow of the line. The wide variety of materials that Katrin Süss uses to question the dimensionality of the circle makes clear that the lightness, as well as the heaviness, must confront this task, in order to actualise the idea of the circle, autonomy through transcendence.

Why though this consistent resort to these archaic marks, signals and symbols? Let us ask the artist ourself: With her circles and spirals, says Katrin Süss, she "attempted to physically grasp and then to express the elemental force of the simplistically ingenious universal ordering principals." To her, the spiral forms "harmony" and the circle portrays the "all-encompassing" of all forms of existence. The referral to self-awareness in the sense of the symbolic meaning of the spiral as a symbol of collapse, described at the outset, does not merely touch upon the mastering of difficult biographical fractures, that have been present in the life of the artist who later studied at the HfbK in Berlin.

The path towards the circle and concentration on the colour white, in this case, does not necessarily lead down the lengthy path of pure abstraction. This was achieved by the Dresden native Manfred Luther, one of the major artists who devoted themselves to geometric abstraction during the existence of the GDR and later in the presence of Herman Glöckner. Luther was a part of the Dresden non-conformism scene, which Katrin Süss would later approach and from which she would gain lasting inspiration. She doesn´t however, follow these predetermined paths - it is not the enhanced reduction of shapes that tantalise her, but rather the balance between tangible empiricism and analytic distance. This shape of substantial access requires a theme as well as an ordinance within the here a,d now. Katrin Süss has found both theme and context on the island of Lanzarote, which she first visited in 2009 as part of a scholarship and has since frequently revisited. This exhibition will also be open to the public in April. Lanzarote, one of the Canary Islands, has an austere appeal, flatly dubbed by some visitors as a "heap of ash and wreckage", is characterised by its volcanic landscape with rough edges, harsh debris and bumpy trails. In any case, Lanzarote represents the counterpart of a hedonistic holiday destination of the postmodern world. Nevertheless (or perhaps for this reason) the island is threatened by the oil industry, for the Spanish oil company, Repsol has discovered a vast oil deposit on the bottom of the sea about 250 kilometres from the shore. It promises up to a billion barrels of oil and therefore naturally has long since triggered the dynamics of capitalism. For Katrin Süss this threat to an incomparable natural habitat represents the matrix, with which she exemplarily tests this moving programme. It is the Spanish painter, sculptor and architect Cesar Manrique, who became the trust in spirit – a warrantor of a change made possible by art. He stands for the success of varied declined circles, which Katrin Süss has also made her own, for a life-principle of unwavering hope of harmony through action and unfolding of consequence. This principle requires both circulation and the drawing of circles.

Manrique, who was born in 1919 and died in a traffic accident in 1992, became the admonisher, champion and saviour of an island that was in danger of being caught in a net of mass tourism and economic interests. Following his return from New York in 1968 the artist played a substantial part in the development of the island, which is now a protected nature reserve, espoused by Pepin Ramirez, an old friend of the family, who had been appointed President of the island. Manrique left his artistic traces everywhere - his art always serving the interplay between humanity and nature.

If Katrin Süss distributes a small edition of his manifesto to the visitors of today‘s exhibition, it musn‘t be seen as an act of pathos in the context of conceptual artistry. It is the courage of facing changes. Courage in the sense of artistic utopia that transfers the the principle of holism into tramsformed circles and with the aid of perpetual circulation into new meanings of sense. Thank you! — Dr. Paul Kaiser (Laudation)