@tilmanhornig

Started in 2013 the ongoing research on glass screen as metaphor of a digital being is a central focus in Tilman Hornig career as an artist.

From an ontological point of view, computers – similar to Heidegger’s notion on Being – “are” not at all. Today, they are required to deter- mine any kind of being. They, therefore, precede any kind of being. Computers “are” not, they exist as an invisible given, which penetrates everything. Foremost, computers are nothing specific. As a universal medium, they are similar to that which Aristotle called the diaphanes, the “transparent” – an undetermined “in-between,” metaxu, which has to be formless in exactitude to take on any form and to transport all possible impressions. The significance of the computer also correlates to an image of the Stoics, the apeiron, ”the in-finite,” which, being primal matter par excellence, includes the possibility of any other matter, and which, exactly because of that, has no proper qualities itself. It is therefore no accident that transparency is the ethos of our time.

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Glass Phone, 2014 ongoing

The phenomenon of virtual illusion denies reality by depicting it. The transparency is an exaggeration of emptiness and abundance of information and content at the same time. It creates infinite possibilities and makes the world a backdrop.

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GlassPhone – Stille Nacht
Galerie Gebr.Lehmann, 2020

By throwing back the symbol of digital space, limitless communication, infinite information to its purely material form, Hornig makes the paradoxical cultural elevation visible. For the device as such is free of any content, it is a neutral surface and at no time permanent. Only at the moment of use does it transfer the surrounding reality into a virtual illusion of the same, thus becoming a mirror of countless, varying realities. The transparency of the “GlassPhone” refers to the actual function of the smartphone as a transmitter of information and translator between the worlds.

The complex and ever-increasing overlap of analog and digital realities is touched in the current exhibition “Silent Night” on a formal as well as on a content-related level. It shows 24 variations of a motif from the “GlassPhone” series. In the darkness of an airplane cabin – as the characteristic oval window hatch in the center lets us know – the human body disappears almost completely. Only the hand holding the sculpture is illuminated by the mystical light in the center of the picture, while the “GlassPhone” itself crosses the additional picture surface enclosed by the window frame in an almost perfect diagonal.The precise, harmonious composition differs in its execution only in this second picture surface, the landscape to be imagined and especially the atmosphere of light that radiates inwards and frames the sculpture like an aureole. Golden sunrises or sunsets, rosy pastel evening moods, deep blue night skies or greenish shimmering auroras create stylized hyper-realities. They reveal that this motif was digitally mounted.

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