Sind wir gleich da? 2017

Sind wir gleich da?

(Are we right there?)

Spinnaker cloth, carbon, foil, tent cords, pegs
180cm x 180cm x 260cm

What is this unusual tent? Neither in shape nor in color does it correspond to what is known as "mobile accommodation" in campsites and music festivals (this is the definition of "tent" in the Grimm dictionary). It is black, so it has a rather unfavorable color for a closed tent, because it heats up quickly in direct sunlight. Also the size is unusual: with a length of 260 centimeters too big for a two-man, too small but for a family tent. In fact, this is not synonymous to industrially manufactured clothing. This object is a special production, which the artist has created in collaboration with a Cologne dragon-maker made of spinnaker cloth, an extremely lightweight nylon fabric. Actually from a kite maker, not a tent maker! When you approach the object, you notice the reason for it: The tent does not stand on the lawn of the perennial garden, but floats about 50 centimeters above the ground in the air. The first thought of the astonished viewer may be, that it is a trick in reality, Maybe the tent is held by steel bars instead of tent lines? That's easy to refute. Or is it kept from below by a support? Who wants to know exactly, can lay down on the floor and look, but will find nothing. When the viewer looks closely as the tent sways slightly in the wind, he begins to trust his eyes.

Mysteriously, the tent floats. The recipient begins to formulate hypotheses and speculations about the cause of this weightlessness. What may be hidden inside the tent? Since you can not find it out by observation anyway, you do not even have to know it. More important than a physical explanation of their floating is the poetic effect of this unusual sculpture. Important are the mental images that it creates in the minds of the visitors. Does the artist override gravity? Is this a haunting or a hallucination? What kind of ghostly beings inhabit this tent? The shape of the sculpture is reminiscent of a little house. For this reason it seems homely, almost magical, with its black color but at the same time scary. Since the viewer has no possibility to look inside, it becomes a black box, which as such develops an elementary metaphor. The art historian Georges Didi-Huberman once remarked on the closed boxes in the Minimal Art circle that they are not a "pure" form, but can be understood as a metaphor for the inner-soul or the unconscious  (A good example is the black steel cube "DIE" by Tony Smith or the giant black cube by Gregor Schneider). This also applies to a black tent. The tent is an ancient cultural symbol, arguably the oldest protective structure of humanity.

Jan Glisman has given his object the title "Are we right there?". With a question as title, the typical impatient child question when traveling, Glisman opens his sculpture even more for a variety of associations. Who is asking here? What kind of travel is involved, and how is the goal defined? One could think of refugee tents or view the tent as a metaphor for the journey of society, our culture, even humanity. Is his hovering expression of freedom or, on the contrary, loss of traction? As clearly as Glisman's tent shows itself to be an object, his hovering remains mysterious. Every viewer will tell a very own story here. Radical openness creates the communicative added value of this amazing sculpture.

- Peter Lodermeyer -