Video installation with sound: video triptych (34', loop), 5 video stands (films 1'30'' to 4', loop), wall painting, "Abstract Birch Forest" of black and white poles
Collection Museum Haus Konstruktiv
Purchase made possible by the bequest of Elisabeth Lauener
Das Kind der Säge ist das Brett [The saw’s child is the board]
The computer animation by the Swiss artist Yves Netzhammer (born 1970 in Schaffhausen, Switzerland) generates a fascinating atmosphere. His figures – people, animals, and insects – move in front of surreal backdrops, as if sleepwalking. With bodies like drawing models that are as smooth and sterile as the surfaces of the sparsely furnished rooms that are lit like a stage, the figures interact with each other or with objects. The actions of these faceless and genderless figures are almost always silent, as if they are caught in a vacuum of sound. The digital soundtrack Netzhammer adds to his animations varies from ethereal and reverberating sounds, to cutting sounds like glass, or buzzing and crackling like a high-voltage power line and helps to create the unusual effect of his films. This conveys a sense of estrangement, other-worldliness, and uneasiness from which we cannot escape, like in a dream. Netzhammer also does not let his figures break out of their disturbing, now absurdly futile, now alarmingly brutal actions, drawing us in by showing us a world whose model character lets our imagination run wild.
Netzhammer, who studied visual design in Zurich, shows his video projections consisting of several parts in combination with objects and wall paintings that incorporate elements from this virtual space and transport it into the real world. In his exhibition in the Swiss Pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennale in 2007, for example, he presented an architectural installation that allowed visitors to become completely absorbed in his pictorial world.
At Museum Haus Konstruktiv the artist also created a kind of stage for his films. His work “Das Kind der Säge ist das Brett” was first shown in the Museum in the exhibition “Thinking Outside the Box” and was intended as a contemporary interpretation of Constructivist and Concrete Art. It is based on Netzhammer’s contribution for the Kiev Biennial in 2015 in which the artist explored Russian Constructivism in one of his works for the first time. In the Museum Haus Konstruktiv, Netzhammer combined a video triptych, integrated into a show booth, with a room-filling arrangement of black-and-white poles and a selection of works from the collection, including paintings by Roman Clemens, Jean Gorin, and Italo Primi. Between these pictures, he painted elementary black shapes – predominantly rectangles – directly on the wall, as a reminder of the famous “Black Square” by Kazimir Malevich. The colorful presentation of the videos also refers to the formal aesthetic vocabulary of the early Constructivists and hence invokes many different associations: from Buster Keaton’s slapstick art, to tattoos that symbolize the social hierarchy of Russian prisoners and the political situation in the Ukraine. It is a world of figures and forms in constant flux, rich with powerful imagery and allusions.