A zeptosecond is a trillionth of a billionth of a second (10-21 seconds), and therefore the smallest unit of time according to the current state of research. This fact, however, is an inadequate answer to the question posed above by Maureen Kaegi (born 1984 in New Plymouth, New Zealand). The artist, who lives and works in Vienna and Zurich, puts to the test what time and its intervals mean for her in the form of an experimental observation in her exhibition at KOENIG2: two equal-sized canvases (each 245 x 190 cm), joined together on their rear surfaces, hover above the ground and rotate gently and continually in one direction. Their vertical alignment suggests a marking, whereas the uniform distance from the exhibition walls generates a clear distance.
In a familiar manner, these are works that oscillate between technically precise workmanship and optical haziness. Maureen Kaegi often employs pigment sticks of varying colours to create geometric networks of lines that appear to liquefy, to shimmer and to move in front of one's eyes. They therefore fabricate optical uncertainties, also known as shifting-baseline effect or even Moiré effect. These interferences become intensified many times over, since the stretched canvases actually turn on their own axis, contrary to their static nature. In addition, the focussed but fleeting gaze of the viewer must cope with displacements and overlaps in one of the two images. The fact that the Janus-headed surfaces differ from each other is immediate; nevertheless, this differentiation opens up a formal developmental step: with the work which is two years older, the artist still follows a strict regime, whereas in contrast the more recent work clearly appears to have got out of order, and parts of the primed canvas are visible. The direct visual comparison of the artistic evolution, however, remains denied due to the constant rotation.
Kaegi is interested in conscious (social) short-sightedness and the apparently relentless pressure of acceleration. For this reason, her images not coincidentally function as displays and digital screens; not by chance they almost look like projections whose incessant hissing exists as a memory of a systemic defect. It is remarkable that she counters these contemporary problems with analogue work practices: painting, photography or, as here, drawing and performance are her preferred media. It is not the artist herself, or dancers in a choreography in the exhibition space and the objects in it, that provoke the viewer. Instead, in this installation it is the canvas itself that internalizes the redundant motion pattern. A triple acceleration in one – in the blurredness of the lines, in the displaced canvas, and in the change of perspective due to the rotation of the works – is Maureen Kaegi's response to a society that has to suspend its own movement in order to become aware of hers.