Während/DU/als Gegenüber/oder/zwischen dem/ICH, 1985
This installation from Bernd Lohaus consists of three identical blocks of wood. The blocks simply lie behind one another on the ground. They have a weatherworn appearance; clearly they already have a life behind them. We also see evidence of this, for instance, with the iron pins that are still partially imbedded in the blocks. Each block had something etched in the wood and written in chalk. We see the words ‘ICH’ (I) and ‘während’ (during), ‘als gegenüber’(as compared to) and ‘oder’ (or) and ‘DU’ (you) and ‘zwischen dem’ (between the). These are parts of speech that we often see recur in Lohaus’s work: pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions and adverbs.
With his work, Lohaus reflects on the relationship between ICH and DU, on the relationship between the artist, the art work and the viewer, but also on the relationship between people amongst each other and between people and things in general. The blocks do not touch each other: there are clear mutual relationships, but a certain distance remains. Lohaus, however, also sets the viewer the task of thinking about it, and thus the meaning of the work is co-determined by the individuals who ponder it. Lohaus raises questions, but leaves the matter open for discussion. The words scratched into the beams shall last eternally. On the other hand, though, we also have the words written in chalk, vulnerable by its very nature. These words sometimes have to be overwritten. So within this work is contained something eternal and something transient. In the line of Joseph Beuys and other artists, Lohaus lifts the artificial barrier between pure visual (image) language and verbal language in our culture.