3 parts: each 10.1 x 7.2 x 2 cm
Cardboard boxes, blister packaging
Collection Museum Haus Konstruktiv
Donated by the artist
P.O.A. Vertigo – More Than
Whenever the photoreceptors in our retina are stimulated by light – for example, if we look directly into the sun – they translate this stimulus into electrical impulses through a chemical reaction. If we close our eyes, we still see dancing dots of light. This effect, also called “positive afterimage,” is actually an optical illusion. The artist Beat Huber (born 1956 in Utzenstorf, Switzerland) focuses on this phenomenon in his “MEGA SCREEN” series. The fleetingness of visual experiences is a key theme in his work.
After training to become a cabinet maker, Huber studied interior architecture at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Basel, before moving to New York for four years. He then received a work grant in 1992 that enabled him to go to Bratislava, Slovakia, a city that was in the midst of transitioning from Soviet Communism to capitalism. While there, he began to notice the colorful billboards that seemed to pop up out of nowhere in the otherwise seemingly gray city. There were also countless commercials on TV advertising goods that could not be bought in the stores.
After he created the “MEGA SCREEN” series in Bratislava, Huber decided to expand on the series by producing an edition of cardboard boxes with the same colors and circles as in the paintings. Each box contains a manual and two medical blister packs that were empty of tablets. The manual provides instructions for how we can calm our imagination through breathing exercises – an idea that is influenced by Zen Buddhism, in which one tries to achieve calmness and emptiness through meditation. Zen Buddhism questions our perception of the world, regarding “reality” and what we consider to be “true” to be mere illusion in a search for the void, or the emptiness behind it.
The combination of Huber’s “MEGA SCREENS” paintings and box edition points toward a post-consumerist reality. The light of the sun (according to Plato the symbol of truth), which enables us to see, often creates an imaginary mental afterimage that we perceive as dots and circles. These continue to simulate perception long after the source of light has disappeared. Does this mean that the picture is still real, or do we constantly indulge ourselves in new illusions? Or should we, as Huber says, “Inspira. Espira.”