To recompose space and its coordinates through patient manual and intellectual labour, to endow a place with new meaning by means of the slow construction of structures that articulate themselves as a metaphor both personal and collective: the work of Susanne Kessler presents an installation of composite dimensions whose vibrant energy reactivates a one hundred year old artistic tradition with a personal and innovative language.
Kessler’s concept makes use of unconventional materials to recreate them in a different position and within a different context from the one of their origin. Recalling and revisiting futurist and dadaist assumptions, but through the experience of environmental art, it addresses fundamental elements in a new way.
Kessler’s work hinges on the apparent randomness of the arrangement of the elements that compose her installation, conceived, constructed and placed within a rigorous system of extreme structural, compositional and conceptual refinement. In her work, lightness assumes a value that is particularly symbolic, a mental and poetic airiness that make the entire, subtle armature of the work pulsate with vibrations of light that mutates in a kind of thought vibration.
What is the basis of this lightness is a patient work of reconstruction of modulated elements of in a key that evokes modern sculpture, and recall certain kinetic experiences. In Kessler’s hands, a series of remote possibilities assume a completely novel consistency, and a maturity of development resulting from a long journey of sublimation. The work of Susanne Kessler is light without loss of substance, its expressive density and power the product of a conscious and variegated though process that is at the same time aesthetic, social and philosophical. Along those lines, material that is initially heavy and veiled transforms its own essence by letting go of its weight, to finding unexpected lightness in the interweaving of filaments and signs that give concrete, tactile and visible form to her idea.
By means of this system of an interwoven order, Kessler restores to things their ephemeral meaning, which appears and disappears, together with that intuitive quality of representation and interpretation that gives art its energy and significance. Through the refinement and emaciation of objects and concepts, Kessler’s vision develops her design to its fullest possibility, achieving a modulation of space with light that comes and goes through the installation like a pencil that leaves its traces on a sheet of white paper.
The work of Kessler now changes into a real handwriting made of a light material that imprints itself on the environment, going through it, taking possession of it, and transforming it completely into a kind of aerial musical score within a manuscript into which one enters, pauses, and is totally enveloped in a multi-sensory emotional and intellectual experience that captures and imprisons the spectator in the breadth of its volume and interconnections.
For Kessler, participation through installation is always accompanied with the idea of a “total” work that gathers and unifies expressive experiences and forms which appear diverse, but always find their profound affinity thanks to her designing vision. In this work sculpture crosses into architecture; environmental art is embellished with musical suggestivity; and a composition of diverse materials is reborn, as though guided by a hand acting on the fragile layer of paint that seems to hold it together, with the entirety of the work pointing to a coherent and inflexible concession of creation as an open thought.
In fact, Susanne Kessler manages to enter into her subtle and severe constructive plot or woof, through suggestion and allusion, into the dynamic perception and reconstruction of a new reality. It is through the unity of the work that she paraphrases this multiple, recomposed world as she patiently excavates and stitches the polymorphic and contradictory organization of its recondite outline that is, at the same time, both incoherent and rational.
Through her method of projection and execution, Kessler is able to bring the spectator close to the mystery of life’s complexity: into the eternal and fluid dialectic of order and disorder, as if the end of this road to creation were an oxymoron joining chaos with equilibrium, and harmony with a dissonance that restores the secret mechanisms of complexity with its dynamic of recurrent instability.
Susanne Kessler achieves remarkable symbolic density by deciphering the secret of things, using the wide parameters of a constructive system based on the concept of netting in the strictly artistic sense, as well as the allusive mode. The netting, with its cross references to psychology, to neuroscience, to cognitive science and social science, in fact, represents a metaphor of extraordinary breadth and amplitude, which Kessler utilizes with rigor, and yet without neglecting the more lyrical aspects of this theme.
Kessler’s interweavings conjure up live archetypes, such as the profoundly feminine essence of Ariadne, with her ambiguity and contradictions, as she liberates her lover from the labyrinth by means of her thread, even as the Fates spin, weave and cut the fabric of human life. In this sense, it is appropriate on this occasion of the installation in the cloister of San Giovanni a Orvieto, to make manifest the ideational foundation of Susanne Kessler art. With its line and rhythm accompanying the viewing of its flowing and becoming, it is appropriate to emphasize the relationship between the time of the work and its historical space, coincident only at one point, namely the intersection of our presence and optical perception with its temporal dimension.
What now appears like a plant that has taken possession of the cloister, can also change into a labyrinthian, intertwined representation of time – that central element of the work which cannot be comprehended as an immediate vision, but which introduces the spectator to his own internal structure wherein the rules of time dilate and compress the different strata, crossings and passages of the composition. For it is in the meanderings of the existential thread of our being, in its becoming, entanglement and disentanglement, and its sinking, that it is capable of renewing itself by illuminating the depths of the heart in order to restore the secret netting of things.
Text of the catalogue “Ritmo e Linea”, of the exhibition in the ex cloister of Saint John, Orvieto, IT, 2010