We are pleased to present “Die Blaue Stunde” (’The Blue Hour’), the first solo exhibition by Katinka Bock in our gallery in Karlsruhe. Sculptures and installations by Katinka Bock inscribe space by defining it as part of their materiality. Her works derive from the convergence of concrete and progressive situations, which Bock translates into specific material and spatial relations. For her, stone, clay, sand, chalk or metal exist as substances to be shaped, like forms of individual ideas of substance. Katinka Bock’s work breaks down reference systems and allows a situational narrative based on the single object, but it is also derived from the relationship between the work and the spatial structures which it inscribes. Besides the inclusion of the elements, in the implementation of her work the artist also uses elementary properties like attraction, repulsion, the expansion or contraction of mass, or she creates fusions in which the interaction and the variability of sculpture and spatial structure often entail a form-finding characterized by reaction.
With her current exhibition in our gallery the artist focuses on situations of transition. The term “blue hour” is a poetic description of the moment between sunset and darkness at night, as well as the short period of time before sunrise. The blue hour describes a limited duration, a moment of passage and, as it were, a threshold possessing substance and character determined by volatility. Bock takes up this theme in her works, many of which were conceived on-site and incorporate the gallery space itself.
Descriptions of a condition, such as similarity, change or difference sketch an idea that can be found in the piece “Am Hang” (’On the Hillside’): Two display cases installed in front of the gallery share the same structure, but differ in detail. A light source controlled by a motion detector illuminates the moment of passing - but follows “illogical” rules, since the specific cause and effect are not accessible - while a thread coloured with blue chalk dust documents the gentle slope of Klauprechtstraße, the street the gallery is located on.
Katinka Bock’s work describes changes in state, as in the case of two recessed metal grid doormats in the vestibule, which she removed and used as a point of departure for two artworks. The encasement of the grid, as well as those belonging to grids in the staircase, serve as moulds for two two-piece ceramic artworks. For one, in “Das Tal” (’The Valley’) the empty recess exposed by the removal of the grid doormat was filled with clay and covered with cloth, during the installation of the exhibition all people who entered and left the gallery left their footprints, effectively amorphous marks, in the clay. This, as well as a slab of clay formed in a similar manner during the opening, will be fired and remains as a witness to a subtle act, captured in its recurrence. The grid in turn served as a basic structure for the artist, which she filled with clay and fired. In the process of firing the materials, the metal became bent and deformed, while the clay hardened into small ceramic blocks. One of the plates of the piece, “Neapel Street” became the top of a table-like object, the other is placed on the ground. While the ceramic fragments fall from the metalwork, their separation from the predetermined grid successively marks the floor of the gallery space, as well as a process that in shaping a moment also describes an uncontrolled progression punctuated with pauses.
Katinka Bock physically transfers the break between, and the combination of conditions or spatial situations in an installation that concretely connects the first with the second exhibition room: A rising arc of metal penetrates the wall, bulges out in the hallway, and, in the second room of the exhibition, ends in a sandstone block featuring a projected film about the attempt to construct a bridge. A grid is employed by Bock in the corridor to link spatial moments in a similar way. The grating is mounted on the door with a hinge at the threshold of the first exhibition space and the hallway, and on the other side, ending in the middle of the corridor, it features an extended metal rod, with a pencil at its tip, touching the gallery floor. With each movement of the grid - the gallery visitor’s decision to enter the room through it, or to exit through another door blocked by the grid - the tip of the pencil traces compass-like lines on the floor. On the one hand, the sketching embodies the decision for or against a spatial situation, which is preserved as a transfer on the floor by the movement of the grid. However, it can also be read allegorically as the figuration of the circular urban layout of the city of Karlsruhe, reflected abstractly in the gradually emerging, radial floor drawing.
By furnishing and highlighting details, Katinka Bock creates abstract landscapes in the structure of her exhibitions. The piece “Himmel und Meer” (’Heaven and Sea’) refers to scenic descriptions located outside of the room, but draws them into the gallery space as allegory in traces of material, patterns of motion, or the subtle use of colour. It consists of three square clay slabs, which conjoin in a corner of the second gallery room (re-)forming the corner of the room. One of the non-fired clay slabs folds down wavily - due to the heavy, brittle consistency of the material: quite the opposite of the slabs that took hold and shape on the wall. Here, success and failure, as well as the planned construction and its unforeseeable rupture are formulated metaphorically, as also in a similar piece implemented in the first exhibition space. The artist often marks blank spaces in her work, she lends these contours with minimal, concrete interventions, and allows them to take on the shape of a narrative description via the viewer’s eye and associative thoughts. “Die blaue Stunde”, a blue watercolor, which Katinka Bock made according to the measurements of the skylight in the second gallery room and placed at the bottom of the window recess, leaves a blue glow on the upper wall surface of the window slit - and thus a counterpart to the externally visible sky.
The floor piece “Zentralplatz” (’Central Square’) is located in the rear room of our gallery. An abundance of square and rectangular pieces of material from (sand)stone, wood, metal and other natural materials that Katinka Bock found in the urban area compose a radial shape, spreading towards the rear edge of the room, a course of lines, their shape oriented towards the centre of the gallery. The reference to and rapport between objects, situations and spaces find expression herein, as well as in the work, “Trio”: The two teardrop-shaped clay figures leaning in a corner in the front room were originally a trio leaning against each other, which the artist left - unfired - in a public space during a performance in Belgium, thus leaving them to themselves. With the shattering of the third part, an autonomous positioning of the two remaining objects is no longer possible, the determination of their position here - the material now fired - is bound to a specific place, but also as a temporary situation.
translation by Zoe Miller