The attitude of the artist Till Velten is supported by curiosity and guided by a deep interest in methods of social research. However, he is not concerned about clear-cut explications but rather tries to investigate the complexities of human individuality and its place in society. His tool for this research is the conversation, an interview form that tries to evade power relations. Till Velten explores individual concepts of life, the personal attitudes of the interview partners to their living and working place, to everyday activities, to religion or to money.
In the current exhibition, following directly after the large and strongly acclaimed solo exhibition at Kunsthaus Zug, the artist shows conversations with three persons in different installation forms. On the one hand they are presented as video sculptures, in which the artist is found in individual dialogues with each Maria Magdalena Nitz, Klaus-Dieter Hennig and Odfried Hepp. The video concentrates on the talking counterpart; whereas on top of it, the design model of the room is shown in which the dialogue took part
These two closely related bits of information seem to give a hint about the interviewed person and his/her personality. But at the same time, the reconstruction of the room is simply a model. And as all models in science, it can only serve as a means to knowledge. But it never is able to comprehend the complex reality, because it is simplified. Even more, die authenticity which often is attributed to dialogues, is modelled by the artist by the directions which his questions take.
The three interlocutors of Till Velten seem to not have any thing in common. Nevertheless, there are mixing points.
The artist met Magda Nitz in a German train, and while talking, they were interrupted by Odfried Hepp who claimed loudly to be an angel. A heavy discussion followed between these individuals who were entirely strangers to each other and tried to defend their individual attitudes toward belief. Later, Till Velten decided to get these people together once more and make Klaus-Dieter Hennig join them, with whom the artist also already had talked about angels. This resulted in a "breakfast at Magda’s”, on the occasion of which these three very different persons met and talked.
This conversation is now presented as a 3-channel video installation which reconstructs the table situation but nevertheless also stresses the very individual attitudes by focussing the camera/screen on each participant.
Till Velten often adopts scientific expressions for his works. In the past years he developed “dubious systems” (Dubiose Systeme), “mind systems” (Seelensysteme), “solo systems” (Einzelsysteme) or the “Polygraph”, and the running exhibition is named “Frühstück mit Magda” – Phenotypen 1. These descriptions may be understood as an attempt to systematically comprehend the plurality of individuals which constitute a society. But there’s a very strong impact of constellations, hazards, personal recommendations and encounters which stress the individual and evade the strict categories of systematization.
This process of encounters, interactions, decisions and conversations as well as the involved people are visualized by an organigram which is designed as a wall drawing. The shape of these organigrams vary at each exhibition, but they always trace the development of events related to the conversations. They provide a reconstruction of the working method of the artist and at the same time serve as a working tool which enables him to retrace connections between events, persons and prevailing topics.
Lic.phil. Fiona Siegenthaler