Matthias Barmann

Matthias and the Meteorite - 2007

On the 7th of September, in time for my birthday, my meteorite landed in London: this was not by chance, but rather by design, as I had requested this present from Matthias.(1) 

At his home in Bavaria I had admired Matthias’s meteorites, displayed among his other works of art. Most striking, at first, was the way their carved, grid-like structures related to their surroundings.

But it was their conditions of origin – the fact that they were formed under conditions of near-zero gravity, over time – that mattered most. And so I asked for one, thinking that by placing such a structure beside my prints and drawings at the Redfern, something really useful might be shown.

The visual connections could be seen at a glance: all these carved, grid-like surfaces were so similar.

What I hoped, though, was that the viewer might grab hold of their shared quality of weightlessness: for just as the meteorite had acquired its structure under conditions of near-zero gravity, over time, so my work aspires to these conditions.

(1) Matthias Bärmann, writer, curator, friend, collector of meteorites. At his home in Bavaria, I admired his ‘garden of meteorites,’ displayed among his other works of art (including three of my drawings). See his essay ‘Drawing, the embodiment of action’ in McCully, Measure Without Measure, and his essay in the catalogue to the exhibition, ‘August Form 2002’ at Galerie Werner Klein, Cologne, 2003.

Spring 2007: A Sound Piece for Amina - 4 June 2007

“Do start. By the sound of it.” – LK, Jottings

Drawing is “to follow the sound.”(1) Since August 2002 I became especially alert to the sounds of my drawing. I noticed that if I concentrate on them, I might better stay in pace and in place, and enter that trance-like state so crucial to the work.

These sounds are diverse: there’s the sound of the mark-making itself, both on the paper as well as on the table. (The rhythm is even punched into the air, though this is silent, except in my mind!)

Then there’s the sound of the paper swishing round, and the violent sound of those discarded works as they hit the studio floor.

Most important, though, are the sounds of my feet: there’s the foot-tapping as I stand ‘at the ready’ at my table, and the sound of me marching, or even shuffling around my studio, always to the beats in my head (and body). I can count on them – and I do: they insure that I ‘go on and get on,’ as directed.

This march/shuffle is absolutely quad-like: 1–2–3–4–5–6–7–8– turn. Repeat. Then, at the ‘appointed time,’ I’ll take up my position at the table. (2) 

Here, the rhythms get worked out on the sheet, exactly as I experience them. In the past they were short, and percussive: it sounded like I was ‘beating the drums’. Now, the counts are longer-held, and so, too, are the lines that draw them out.

(1) Linda Karshan, in conversation with Matthias Bärmann, in the catalogue to the exhibition, ‘August Form 2002’ at Galerie Werner Klein, Cologne, 2003.

(2) This summer, 2007, I even positioned myself upon a square, QUAD-like rubber mat, so as to cushion my legs against the concrete floor. The tapping sounds produced here were very assertive.