The exhibition “Raimund Kummer. Sublunar Interference” at Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin features four large-scale sculptural works from different stages of Kummer’s oeuvre. The works, made between 1979 and 2017, address the subject of seeing and are exhibited together for the first time.
“Any site can be a potential site for art.” Raimund Kummer’s (b. 1954) interventions in urban space since the 1970s, as well as the forms of presentation that he developed, result from an understanding of art that no longer differentiates between the site of the work’s origin and the site where it is made public. Works following up on this – temporary installations, sound, staged photographs, sculptures, photographic and filmic works – can be ascribed to the starting point of Kummer’s work: the Realraum.
The title Sublunar Interference is a poetic allusion to the question of light and seeing as possible forms of perception. ‘Interference’ thus constitutes a notion of action that is set within the cosmic by the attribute ‘sublunar’. It denotes art’s infinite sphere of activity and the genre-spanning scope of Raimund Kummer’s oeuvre. Essential to his sculptures are questions derived from an experimental relationship to material and their resolution in practice, not the theoretical discourse of conceptual drafts.
The exhibition opens with the slide projection Skulpturen in der Straße (1978/1979), a work from the Nationalgalerie’s collection, that is comprised of photographs of random constellations of stacked materials, construction sites and processes. As a critique of the academization of conceptual and minimal art at the end of the 1970s, the work exemplifies the strategy of an aesthetic found in the Realraum.
In Mehr Licht (1991), also from the Nationalgalerie's collection, Kummer focuses on seeing, but also blindness, as influential processes of gaining and losing knowledge. The floor sculpture consists of transparent, crystalline glass objects reminiscent of ocular prosthetics and a disassembled diagram of an eye disorder transferred into sheets of glass. Kummer introduced the material glass into the sculptural medium in the form of monumental floor pieces.
νόστος – ἄλγος (2012) seizes the ‘nostalgic’ (Greek: nóstos álgos) quality of progressive thinking within the dialectic of memory and utopia. In this ‘projection machine’, consisting of 81 slide projectors, Kummer is concerned with the sculptural dimension of artificially generated light as well as issues of content.
The projection’s continuous ambivalence between shadow and light and its random, indefinable manifestations opens an undisturbed space for the thoughts of the beholder. Light is traditionally associated with ideas that irrevocably lead out of the darkness (‘the light at the end of the tunnel’).
The continuously expanding group of works On Sculpture (1979-2017) reveals Raimund Kummer’s comprehensive sphere of reflection on potential forms of sculpture. The stacked archive boxes form a sculptural dispositive in which over 400 photographs are assembled.
Under the title unterwegs / out and about, Raimund Kummer and Eugen Blume, curator of the exhibition, met at selected locations of biographical significance for the artist, which were inspirational for central works, where interventions took place or where public sculptures have been permanently installed.
The resulting short films seek to establish a link between place, artist, art historian and visitor. unterwegs / out and about conveys motifs, forms of action, approaches and attitudes of the artist.