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Betrachtungen des Waldes

Online discussion with Elke Dreier and Arjen Kleinherenbrink

28.05.2021

As part of the series Thinking Nature, GiG Munich hosted the online discussion between Elke Dreier (currently showing her work Betrachtungen des Waldes at GiG) and Dr. Arjen Kleinherenbrink (assistant professor in metaphysics and philosophical anthropology at the Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies at the Radboud University Nijmegen, Netherlands) . The zoom discussion took place on the 28th of May. 

 The image in Elke Dreier’s work is the forest clearing – Arjen Kleinherenbrink will be introducing Deleuze and Guattari’s idea of the plane of nature. In this way, we will move from clearing to plane, to see how things might reveal themselves to us and how things came about to be what they are. 

To watch the discussion on Vimeo, please find the link here:  https://vimeo.com/558918382.

The project is funded by the City of Munich Department of Art and Culture.

Betrachtungen des Waldes

Elke Dreier

11.05 – 11.06.2021

Elke Dreier, Betrachtungen des Waldes, 2021, video installation (still image)

Elke Dreier, Betrachtungen des Waldes, 2021, video installation (still image)

Elke Dreier, Betrachtungen des Waldes, 2021, video installation (still image)

Elke Dreier, Betrachtungen des Waldes, 2021, video installation (still image)

Elke Dreier, Betrachtungen des Waldes, 2021, video installation (still image)

Elke Dreier, Betrachtungen des Waldes, 2021, video installation (still image)

Camera: Daniel Asadi FasziXylothek, TUM Holzforschung München

Elke Dreier, Betrachtungen des Waldes, 2021, video installation (still image)

Elke Dreier, Betrachtungen des Waldes, 2021, video installation (installation view)

Elke Dreier, Betrachtungen des Waldes, 2021, video installation (installation view)

Elke Dreier, Betrachtungen des Waldes, 2021, video installation (installation view)

Elke Dreier, Betrachtungen des Waldes, 2021, video installation (installation view)

The clearing in the forest is such a compelling image. It always seems to happen quite suddenly. The trees fall away to reveal an empty space. The sun shines there. Birds sing.  A butterfly flutters by.  Things become visible in the clearing as the eye adjusts to the bright light. We begin to perceive things that were previously hidden — things that otherwise might have escaped our notice. When we enter the clearing things show themselves to us. But what are these things that we see? And who are the ‘we’ to who see them?

For me, the clearing always will belong to Heidegger. When in ‘The Origin of the Work of Art’ he starts to describe the relation between truth and unconcealment, it is the clearing to which he turns. He writes here so memorably,

In the midst of being as a whole an open place occurs. There is a clearing. Thought of in reference to beings, this being is more in being than are beings. Thos open center is therefore not surrounded by beings; rather, the clearing center itself encircles all that is, as does the nothing, which we scarcely know. (‘Origin of the Work of Art,’ in Heidegger, Basic Writings, 114)

Heidegger makes good use of the way the clearing makes the forest visible to us, the moment when we finally see the space, light, and air, that despite always being present, within the forest remaining unnoticed, overlooked. For Heidegger, the clearing then becomes the metaphor for how beings stand in Being. 

But there are so many other approaches to the clearing, and it is this that the work of Elke Dreier shows so well: the clearing in its compelling-ness. We might look at the video footage of the local forest and see the light, the trees and the leaves. Those who are more observant might catch a glimpse of an insect or bird.  An expert bird imitator however, would know the names of all the birds he hears and be able to replicate their song exactly. Similarly, the staff at Munich’s Xylotheque could identify the wood structures of each of the trees found there. The clearing is thus open to all those who wish to enter. It invites us in.

The clearing as presented by Elke Dreier in Betrachtungen des Waldes is the first in a series of exhibitions (entitled, Thinking Nature) held at GiG Munich. These exhibitions hope to examine man’s relation to nature, or more accurately, how man’s thinking is structured through the relation he has with nature. For too long this kind of thinking had been focused on the relationship man establishes with nature. Traditionally, the condition of knowledge lies within the human subject and whatever his experience of the world might be. More recently Marxist, feminist, and postmodern thought have set to critique this relationship further.  I would argue the challenge is to think nature outside this relation, with our current climate crisis as well as the ongoing corona pandemic making this task all the more urgent. The clearing of Elke Dreier work is to provide the open space for discussion. 

Magdalena Wisniowska 2021

Betrachtungen des Waldes

Elke Dreier

11.05 – 11.06.2021

GiG Munich is happy to present its first exhibition of 2021, featuring new work by Munich-based artist, Elke Dreier, the video installation ‘Contemplation of the Forest’. This will be the first of a series of exhibitions exploring the relation between man and nature, supported by the City of Munich Department of Art and Culture.

Elke Dreier’s “Contemplation of the Forest” shows a forest clearing from different perspectives. The work uses film to stage and negotiate fundamental questions about forms of perception, visibility and physiological processes in the perceptual encounter.

Elke Dreier (* 1984) studied at the Academy of Fine Arts as a master class student of Prof. Olaf Nicolai and lives in Munich. In 2017 she received a scholarship at the Fondazione Pastificio Cerere in Rome and in 2018 was awarded the project grant for visual arts from the City of Munich. In her artist practice, Elke Dreier removes everyday communication and movements from their immediate context to re-enact them in videos and installations.


2020 Götzendämmerung, Künstlerverbund im Haus der Kunst, München

2019 Future Routines, Ausstellung, Lecture und Talk, mold, Karlsruhe in Kooperation mit dem Kunstbüro der Kunststiftung Baden-Württemberg (s)

2018 Memotion, Europäisches Künstlerhaus, Schafhof, Freising2017 SO LONG, Fondazione Pastificio Cerere, Rom

2016 Karin Wimmer – Young Art Space, München (s)

The exhibition will include an online discussion event with Dr. Arjen Kleinherenbrink, assistant professor at Radboud University, and author of ‘Against Continuity.’ 

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GiG Munich freut sich, die erste Ausstellung 2021 mit einer neuen Arbeit der Münchner Künstlerin Elke Dreier, der Videoinstallation „Betrachtungen des Waldes“, eröffnen zu können. Dies ist der erste Teil einer Reihe von Ausstellungen, unterstützt vom Kulturreferat München, die sich mit der Beziehung zwischen Mensch und Natur befassen.

Die Videoinstallation “Betrachtungen des Waldes” zeigt eine Waldlichtung aus unterschiedlichen Perspektiven. Grundlegende Fragen nach Wahrnehmungsformen, Sichtbarkeit und physiologischen Abläufen in Wahrnehmungssituationen werden filmisch inszeniert und verhandelt.

Elke Dreier (*1984) hat an der Akademie der Bildenden Künste als Meisterschülerin von Prof. Olaf Nicolai studiert und lebt in München. 2017 erhielt sie ein Stipendium an der Fondazione Pastificio Cerere in Rom und wurde 2018 mit dem Projektstipendium für Bildende Kunst der Landeshauptstadt München ausgezeichnet. In ihren künstlerischen Arbeiten löst Elke Dreier alltägliche Kommunikations- und Bewegungsprozesse aus ihrer Unmittelbarkeit und reinszeniert diese in Videos und Installationen.

2020 Götzendämmerung, Künstlerverbund im Haus der Kunst, München

2019 Future Routines, Ausstellung, Lecture und Talk, mold, Karlsruhe in Kooperation mit dem Kunstbüro der Kunststiftung Baden-Württemberg (s)

2018 Memotion, Europäisches Künstlerhaus, Schafhof, Freising2017 SO LONG, Fondazione Pastificio Cerere, Rom

2016 Karin Wimmer – Young Art Space, München (s)