The God-Trap in the Young European Landscape
By Eli Epstein-Deutsch
posted: 06-05-11
photograph by Mary Prager

"The Young European Landscape", an upcoming exhibition at the Galerie Wolfsen Aalborg D.K. to be curated by Uwe Goldstein, aims to revive the landscape genre as a "framework for the reception, coordination and mirroring of our present-day lifeworld," with painting, photography and sculptural works by Gabor A. Nagy, Franziska Klotz Peter Hampel, Mirjam Siefiert and others.

One subsection, "Into the Wild" focuses on "wilderness as a utopian space, marked by a certain accommodation of post-romantic longings for oneness and unity with nature," but none the less sidesteps nostalgia to contend inescapably with a cultural order immersed in "a maelstrom of contingent information," in which transcendence is always-already blocked.

One can thus perceive the continued relevance of the seemingly outdated Romantic form: think of Caspar David Friedrich's Monk by the Sea for instance, which Heinrich Von Kleist famously said made the viewer feel as "as if one's eyelids had been cut away."; the "monotony" and "boundlessness" of that foggy plane appear with a subliminity that can perhaps be recaptured in the apprehension of our vertiginous, multipolar age.

The Young European Landscape definitely aims at just this sort of heavy project; on the other hand it is lightened with a dose of existentialist wit. This is most prominent in Horst Waigel's God Trap, a whimsical, vaguely Fluxus style send-up of the notion of locating God in nature (producing an effect similar to making a cut-up collage out of a Ralph Waldo Emerson essay). All ingredients for producing the God Trap are given in Waigel's installation, which also contains instructions.

Suffice it to say the the contraption involves a "reversed soup ladle" a fully charged Dirt Devil vacuum cleaner, such "bait" as a Jesus figurine, a hip-flask, and "money." Eventually, God is somehow supposed to be caught in the dreams of your cat via the trap, vacuumed up with the Dirt Devil, and uploaded to the Internet.

Please try this at home.

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