What happens when what is seen imposes itself upon the gaze as if the gaze were seized, put in touch with the appearance? What happens is not an active contact, not the initiative and action which there still is in real touching. Rather, the gaze gets taken in, absorbed by an immobile movement and a depthless deep. What is given us by this contact at a distance is the image, and fascination is passion for the image.
Maurice Blanchot, The Space of Literature, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln 1982, p.32
Rosemarie Trockel, born in Schwerte (Germany) in 1953 is the subject of our Dialogue series, where carefully curated works by different artist are put together to reflect on unforeseen connections between different methodologies of work.
Rosemarie Trockel’s work comprises a wide variety of mediums, including video, ceramics, drawing, found artifacts, and knitted works. It challenges the traditional notions of artistic production, raising questions of politics, domesticity, eroticism, and fantasy.
There is a facticity of the here and now in Trockel's work whether in the materiality of her ceramic sculptures which physically protrude from the wall, or in the flat "absence as presence" of the photographed persons in her digital portraits. All these works are enigmatic and recalcitrantly refuse to yield easy meaning, throwing the responsibility of "sense" firmly into the lap of the spectator. It is part of the allure of Rosemarie Trockle's art that it makes, seductive, unsettling and unanswerable demands upon the viewer. Enormous care and attention always goes into its installed presentation so that it optimally engages the viewer in the manner of the matter of fact answer of a child who when asked what their drawing represented replied: "It means what it looks to be like".
Excerpt of Absence as Presence: Passion for the Image in Rosemarie Trockel's Photographic Portraits, by Roger Cook, in Reflections: Rosemarie Trockel and works from Turin Collections (p.39), ed. by Corraini Edizioni for Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli.
More texts on Rosemarie Trockle's work here.