Exhibitions

I cannot repeat what I hear

Natalie Czech

July 13 - September 1, 2013

Natalie Czech, A poem by repetition by Aram Saroyan, 2013, VG Bild Kunst Bonn, 2013
Natalie Czech, A poem by repetition by Hart Crane, 2013, Courtesy Kadel Willborn, Düsseldorf / Capitain Petzel, Berlin, VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2013Natalie Czech, A poem by repetition by Allen Ginsberg, 2013, Courtesy Kadel Willborn, Düsseldorf / Capitain Petzel, Berlin, VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2013Natalie Czech, A poem by repetition by Robert Creeley, 2013, VG Bild Kunst Bonn, 2013Natalie Czech, Voyelles - A letter to / from Jean-Pascal Flavien, 2013, VG Bild Kunst Bonn, 2013Natalie Czech, Voyelles - A letter to / from Barry Schwabsky, 2013, VG Bild Kunst Bonn, 2013Natalie Czech, Voyelles, 2013, Installationsansicht Kunstverein Hamburg, 2013, Foto: Henning Rogge, VG Bild Kunst Bonn, 2013Natalie Czech, Installationsansicht Kunstverein Hamburg, 2013, Foto: Henning Rogge, VG Bild Kunst Bonn, 2013Natalie Czech, Installationsansicht Kunstverein Hamburg, 2013, Foto: Henning Rogge, VG Bild Kunst Bonn, 2013Natalie Czech, Installationsansicht Kunstverein Hamburg, 2013, Foto: Henning Rogge, VG Bild Kunst Bonn, 2013

The photographic works of Natalie Czech (born 1976, currently living in Berlin) oscillate between concrete poetry and conceptual photography. She highlights the relationships and interactions between images and texts, poetry and the visual arts whilst also exploring the lyrical potential that lays hidden in newspaper articles and books.

The exhibition in the Kunstverein Hamburg is a collection of new works specially produced for this exhibition. Natalie Czech presents for the first time her series "Poems by Repetitions" in addition to the work "Voyelles" (Vowels).

"Poems by Repetition" refers to a quote extracted from Getrude Stein's theatrical text "Saints and Singing" (1922), which she devoted to an extensive exploration of the nature and purpose of iteration. The new series by Natalie Czech now dedicates various rhetorical and stylistic devices to the theme of repetition. The selected "Poems by Repetition" only become visible and legible through the repeated photographic depiction of the same textual materials. In the process, not only semantic but also phonetic and visual repetitions emerge, automatically referring back to their existing linguistic and textual manifestations. What are reproduced are not identical copies: Instead, a flow of repetition and variation is initiated. Czech uses a variety of media to do this, including magazines, newspapers, books, iPad publications, online texts and their prints outs, photocopies and e-books on Kindle readers. Each respective identical text is photographed multiple times, exploiting stylistic variations such as the slight alterations in cut and perspective and the contrast between the various photographs. The photographs are also taken at various times of day. Similar techniques of repetition are thus used for the photographs as were applied in each poem the authors wrote. The desired result is an interlacing of repetition and context which can only be accessed through these variations. The repetition of these ostensibly identical copies invokes notions of remembrance, ritual, delay, not to mention redemption, stuttering and eloquence, evincing a tonal component similar to an echo or the refrain of a song. 

The second new work "Voyelles" refers back to the poem of the same name by Arthur Rimbaud from 1871, as well his "Lettres des Voyant" (Letter of the Seer). Czech invited 10 authors to themselves write a letter on her behalf. In the letters, the authors describe a fictional photograph which has synesthetic elements. The descriptions were allowed to be entirely arbitrary, but had to concentrate on a predetermined colour from Rimbaud. Despite the fact that the letters have all seemingly been composed by the same author, the different personalities behind them become clearly recognisable. On the other hand, it would be interesting to see which photographic images the authors are looking at. 

An artist's book has been created for the exhibitions in cooperation with the Kunstverein Braunschweig.