Ars Electronica 1992
Festival-Program 1992
Back to:
Festival 1979-2007


Der Innere Beobachter

'Michael Bielicky Michael Bielicky

The archaic and the contemporary, the historical and the timeless, the motionless and the flowing, the spiritual and the material: in his work Michael Bielicky only permits apparent contrasting to clash, which occasionally inter-constitutes itself. His view is aimed at those overtimely correspondences with which continuity, tradition, and the specific newness about a crystalized point in the present can be made explorable. Bielicky assumes an expression of modesty through cultural cognate, in an eloquent way which, as a rule, is lacking in the approach to the new media, indicating doubt as to the immortality of things. This assumed attitude is not coquetted from the standpoint of a supposed evolutionary futuristic extreme point, but is in the centre of an imaginary non-directional development, equivalents on the wrong terrain which can be subsumed under one formula – in this case: information – and which become clear in the installation "Spiral". The walkable sculpture is a symbol of the unrelenting flow of information which every person is subjected to and which he himself disassociates. The asymptotic rejuvenating spiral reminds us of the double-helix genetic code as the natural, or even the prayer functions of Torah as the cultural expression of the archetypical structure by means of which information is transferred and in the form of which our solar system moves through the universe. Bielicky takes the liberty of preserving the heterogenius, off-hand, the non-compound, the duration of his artistic performance and of connecting it to a third, new one. Isolated from the original familiar context, history is fictionalized and excursions into overtimeliness are possible. The affinity of the widest variety of forms which the inconceiveable has the power to assume, is of interest to the artist in his archivistic search for traces. The things themselves – from which man remains excluded as they are only accessible to him in an imparted manner – will nevertheless in no way be instrumentalized. Bielicky's art is at one and the same time oxymoronic: ideas become visibly perceptible without even the Judaic image prohibition being infringed. A testimony of respect to the widest range of manifestations of knowledge which does away with graphical hierarchy. The contemporary does not have the final decision as regards his position in the incessant flow of time, but does acknowledge his provisional position which is inherent in this. He reclaims that he is a part of that future – which is understood to be permanently developing in the present – supplied from the past. The mere presence of the symbol, for example in the installation "Menora", opens up a flood of associations which disregard – not directed by the object – the limitation of the historical moment and penetrates into regions which close themselves off to the possibility of depiction. The consequences of archetypical motives in Bielicky's sculptures – be it the recurrent number seven, the Menora, the circular and spiral structure, fire and water as metaphysical symbols of meaning – speaks for the synchronicity of the diachronies, for the simultaneousness of non-simultaneousness, for dated parallels. Tribute is paid to the inherent antiquatedness of man which replies to an increasingly dehumanized world of life with a recourse to the irrational, which occasionally can be found in the aesthetic. The complications of the conditions of the spiritual are proven by the fact that these symbols are reproduced, that is: only become clear in simulation. The voluntarily effected collective farewell from the authentic in the world of consumer goods consequently becomes conspicuous. The sculptures nevertheless indicate the inability to give up the desire for the spiritual which cannot be simulated nor reproduced. In contrast to the tendential omnipotent media, art respects the misunderstood, the non-depictable. The transmitter of visually perceptible information is always located in the "somewhere" in Bielicky's work, the closest to which comes a cryptic globe. Even here the terms of reception can be reconstructed and rationally made accessible – and so we more or less know that in the installation "The Inner Observer", an infrared camera is concealed in the black globe which picks up the word "light" in all secrecy, broadcasting it by means of a coupled transmitter to the monitors which are switched on to receive – yet Bielicky aims deliberately at the dark, opaque form inaugurated by the secretive black globe. A metaphoric approach to the relativity of human perceptive processes.

In his art, Michael Bielicky opposes the omnipotent mania of that hybrid rationality which in the wake of Enlightenment, acts, as it were as the relieving principle. Performed with the aid of artificial gestures and with technical media, Bielicky tracks down the undeceivable dialectics of synchronism and difference, continuity and alternity, the calculated and the chance and reminds us, with man-made means, of that reality which exists away from anthropocentric world pictures and evolutionary-cultural superiority.
Wolfgang Werth
The concept of the inner observer plays an important role in Judaism. The Greek and Jewish idea of visual experience is contrary in nature. European art was inspired by the Greek, of comprehending art as a mimesis. The words ars and art are related to imitation, copy, duplication, fake. Omanut (Hebrew art) is included in words like truth, belief, hand work, education. The statues of Venus and Apollo taught us to contemplate the exterior and to listen to the inner voice (mythology). Jewish philosophy is based on listening to the exterior and seeing the interior. The artist is not so much imitating the God himself, but rather the process of creation.

On account of the character of the eye, the sense of seeing has something alienating about it. We can have direct contact with all our senses, (physical) except with the eyes. Fingers touch, the nose is buried in a flower, the ear is on the chest, listening to the heart beat. But if the eye is on a picture it cannot recognize the picture. It must distance itself from the picture to be able to see it. The watchmen in museums are there to make us experience art in an exclusively visual way. The "Thora" role is also experienced by reading, dancing, kissing, and touching.

It is the inner light that makes the essence of our life. It is the inner light that gives reason to philosophy, religion, physics, and art as it exists.