Fiete Stolte. Transit
12 Jan — 4 Mar 2017 at Albertz Benda in New York, United States
Albertz Benda is pleased to present Transit, Berlin-based artist Fiete Stolte’s first solo show in the United States, on view in the Project Space from January 12 through March 4, 2017. Stolte’s works are experiments in rendering the invisible aspects of the self into physical objects, ones that explore consciousness, the passage of time, and traces of movements. The artist captures and preserves ephemeral moments through photographs, sculpture and installations, using materials that range from bronze and glass to Polaroids. Through reversals and erasure, Stolte challenges viewers to question their perceptions of fixed principles, such as time, and enter a realm in which both the visible and non-visible co-exist. For his presentation at albertz benda, Stolte will debut four new series of works: Smoke (after Still Life with Candle # 1 - # 5), Inverted Clock, Fade, and Studio View that capture ‘absence as action’.
Occupying an entire wall of the gallery, Smoke (after Still Life with Candle # 1 - # 5) (2016) is a series of neon light sculptures. These abstracted forms are based on Polaroids that Stolte took of candles immediately after blowing out the flame, so while the works themselves are static, the moment they capture is one of transition – the fleeting instance of smoke rising from a wick. The use of neon reinforces the dual themes of temporality and physicality, as the constant illumination of the work belies the ephemeral nature of the medium.
Inverted Clock (2016) transforms a mundane household item into a reflection on the distribution of information in the digital age. A functional clock, the piece shows the time using a classic seven-segment analog display that has been in wide circulation since the 1960s. While images today are almost exclusively saved as color-positive, digital information, and data is stored and visualized as ones and zeros, Stolte has inverted these components in the work - only the negative space of the numbers is visible. The unvarying flashing of the colon in the center of the display marks the advance of each second.
Fade (2017) consists of 10 photographs forming a sculptural collage - the images depict the artist engaged in the act of buttoning up a shirt, forming a rhythm throughout the frames. Each shirt is comprised of two different colored shirts that Stolte has stitched together. Where Stolte's arms overlap from one panel to the next, the separate halves of the original shirt are reunited, although in a new arrangement. The piece is not simply a static image, but a record of performative acts: ripping the shirts, sewing them back together, and buttoning the shirt. The artist's hand is both literally and symbolically present, and the panels are made to the scale of his body. Within the context of the exhibition, the piece reinforces the focus on transition rather than finalized states and represents personal transformation.
For Studio View (2017) Stolte has assembled canvas stretcher bars into multiple window frames of varying sizes, suspended from the gallery ceiling. Each frame corresponds to a window in Stolte’s Berlin studio, reproduced on a 1:1 scale. The piece references the art-historical concept of treating painting as a window into a space, yet the image is absent. The viewer is encouraged to imagine the views from the studio, a place that is typically hidden and inaccessible to anyone but the artist. The windows that connect the interior of Stolte’s studio to the outside world are the site of confrontation between public and private. Stolte’s site-specific and intimate exchange with his personal environment has now been transported to New York City.