Angelika Steiger with Darragh Gallagher, Helen Goodwin, Balint Bolygo and Deb Whitney
Deborah Whitney & Angelika Steiger
A collaboration of words from Angelika Steiger and Deborah Whitney
The origin of our collaboration is a book. A Dutch 19th C hymnal. We each took a half…of the cover and the pages. If microgravity is the condition in which people or objects appear to be weightless, our self-assigned task was to transform the pages of this book, delve into the spiritual nature and history of the book’s contents, and perhaps reference these elements in a new, more personal, way.
For Deb, using the pages as a source – unlocking and extracting – translating and editing became a meditative process. The objectification of the spirituality that the book possessed became a functional realisation of repurposing the words. By making each page a monument, and deciding which words to highlight, a new language was produced, one that neither related to the original language, nor to the original intent of the book.
Angelika on the other hand took pages of the psalm book and separated text from music notes to make their swinging energy visible separately. The Perspex box plays the role of putting up a barrier: it holds words back, lets the viewer catch only fragments of the psalm, stimulates without tactic experience. It also denies culturally expected interaction. The same with the music. The notes remain fragmented and silent. Words are singled out and lay underneath and look like fallen out of the boxes. They are key-words of a longing and freeing process red crocheted and starched with cassava, a vegetable which nurtures and kills at the same time, which she made in Botopasi/Suriname last year.
Angie states: Holding the antique prayer book in my hand is deeply emotional. I can feel tears of joy and despair, hope, trust, love – can feel the time, like sand in my hand – if I hold my hand open, it will remain for that precious moment. If I squeeze it tight, only a few grains will remain, still representing the whole. If a book with so many words and meanings can be reduced to powerful keywords, when fragments of sentences are sufficient to stimulate hope and trust and love, then it stands for magic and poetry, but lights up the question of what belief in its origin is. Humans are spiritual beings – even if they don’t follow the doctrines of a particular religion – we are all searching for truth and answers.
In our collaboration we are extracting words and separating text from music notes to make these quintessential connections visible. Manipulating the poetry and the power of the divine, perhaps an act of rebellion or even sacrilege - or with joy and appreciation as we changed the pages into individual objects, has given the words new meaning and the pages a new perspective. poetry and the power of the divine, perhaps an act of rebellion or even sacrilege - or with joy and appreciation as we changed the pages
Angelika Steiger & Balint Bolygó
Bolygo’s and Steiger’s work intersects on a wavelength that is integral in both artist’s individual work – the exploration of the ‘every day’ found in objects or materials. Their artistic process reveals unexpected mysteries behind the seemingly ordinary.
Their first collaboration focused on the material and mechanism to show the state of impermanence and flux. Like “Page Turner” they presented lyrical, kinetic objects made of books that examined their affinity to technology. In our screen-based lives, the analogue machine tends to point to the machine age of the past when things were more tactile. The dialectic between the ephemeral word of the screen and the printed word becomes evident.
A waste piece of graphite from the Engineering industry inspired their current collaboration. An artistic process was invented around this found object – “Black Wing” became their two-person-drawing-implement.
Frottageing the streets brings the everyday, the ignored and rushed-by upfront. A serendipitous process was brought about where elements in the weather, road surface, traffic and materials revealed unexpected results. Seemingly insignificant road surfaces exposed images where features are revealed as well as remained hidden. The fine balance between the hidden and the visible becomes the soul of the work.
The large graphite frottages embody not only the lines and contour of the road surface, but are records of movement, time and the dance-like action of the two artists. The most important act happened right in there – it was a moment of defining energy, strength, length, intensity of the gesture - Life happens there!
“Rain Drum” is another two-person-drawing-implement where a cable drum is loaded with paper, graphite and various other materials and rolled along a path. The undulations and the rolling speeds combine to reveal morse-like messages from an autonomous system.
Traces of the past play an important role of cultural identification. However, decoding hidden messages act as an important catalyst into a self- determined future.
Angelika Steiger und Darragh Gallagher (in Filter4, Basel)
Angelika Steiger (Liechtenstein) and Darragh Gallagher (Ireland) have chosen to live and work in Switzerland. In this, their first collaboration, they join forces in reflecting on Filter4’s former use as a water reservoir for the city of Basel.
Gallagher’s interest in the politics of environmental degradation, climate change and cultural loss is timely: as glaciers melt in the heart of Switzerland, jeopardising both fragile natural environments and the tourist industry, elsewhere in the world climate change denial has gained strength at the highest political levels. Meanwhile, Steiger’s research into memories, materials and the processes that transform them, has led her to explore transitional states and the concept of being simultaneously ‘not yet’ and ‘no longer’. To this end she investigates ancient and modern structures, the human body and natural materials with compassion and humour: her works are transforming and transformative.
Both artists view water and ice as vital natural materials, necessary for human and environmental survival and they advocate living in empathy, rather than discord, with the world of which we are a part. In ‘Spoor’ a shared interest in archaeology leads them to question what memories, and what trace, we will leave behind us for future generations from the age of the Anthropocene.”
Angelika Steiger und Helen Goodwin (in A-Side B-Side Gallery, London)
Helen: “...I found all our images which was really lovely...bringing back playful, experimental approaches....responding to gestures and each others mark making, a language began to form, bringing material relevant to our individual practice, sharing and crossing over....we began to speak the same language
then the book piece....a beautiful piece made....with trust was given it in your absence and thought about the stitching in the binding of the book...and my thread as a language...and so responded....
I loved working with you....our natural playfulness and trust....respectful gestures of drawing...”