Jakob Mattner, Eclipse, spatial installation 2005, Photo: Gunter Lepkowski
Exhibition | 20.05.2006 EXTENDED UNTIL 17.09.2006

A Look at the Sun

Jakob Mattner and the Heliologists of the Einstein Tower
In the mysterious twilight zone, between the tides of time, when light and dark interweave, Jakob Mattner’s sculptures make their appearance. They defy matter—like phantoms, their actual material has solely visual existence. Light and its opponents become the subject of an art that makes its entry in the fleeting moment of twilight. Light and shadow, reflex and reflection are elements with which Mattner unfurls a space whose phenomena are not manifest but visible. Vision, whose secret theory develops in every artistic action, is the palpable center of the work.

Jakob Mattner worked with the astrophysicists at the Einstein Tower in Potsdam over the course of about two years. Together, they approached the aesthetic phenomena of their different images of the same object: the source of light and vision—the sun. The exhibition Der Blick in die Sonne (A Look at the Sun) now presents the results of this impressive dialogue between art and science: imaginary and observed images of an insurmountable distance, whose source, on the one hand, is the staging of the artistic gaze, and, on the other hand, the construction of scientific observation.


Jakob Mattner’s art between light and shadow not lastly opens our eyes to the impressively aesthetic qualities of the images made by heliologists. They range from specimens selected by the artist from the Einstein Tower archive and the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften, studies of the sun in watercolor from the eighteenth century, all the way to photographs from current research. Lithographs and eyegrounds from the artist’s archive, the Berlinische Trübung, and the Raumzeit-Kladden blend with his light installations and the so-called pseudocolors of the scientists, their visors, filters, and deflection projections. Sizzling black-and-white plasma and solar eruptions in poison green. Der gezielte Blick and Der blinde Fleck, auxiliary moons, and parhelia announce the claim of the impossible that in principle link art and science.


The images, objects, and installations in the exhibition are testimony to the "thinking eye,” trained by the sun to perceive its reflection but not its source—and which, under the Zwang zum Bild (compulsion to form an image), resists its limitation with an overwhelming cognitive will to view this source.

Concept and implementation: Jakob Mattner
Idea and project manager: Anna Maigler
Curators: Carsten Ahrens and Anna Maigler

In cooperation with the sun observatory Einsteinturm—Astrophysikalisches Institut, Potsdam, Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Berlinische Galerie, Landesmuseum für Moderne Kunst, Fotografie und Architektur, Museum Wiesbaden, Kunstsammlungen, Naturwissenschaftliche Sammlungen.
We would like to thank the Olbers Planetarium, Bremen, for their cooperation.

Funded by the: German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)—Einstein Year 2005, Federal Arts Council


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