CHRISTOPH KELLER -
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" THE MESMER ROOM "
Ehibition from May 13 to July 8 2006
The Mesmer Room is an exhibition that consists of a series of individual artworks by the Berlin based artist Christoph Keller, that together form an environment establishing a connection the relation between art and hypnosis. The title of the exhibition is dedicated to the disputed german scientist Franz Anton Mesmer, who created an frenzy in Paris in
the 1780’s with his seances and his theory of the "Animal-Magnetism", that today counts as a predecessor of the modern concept of hypnosis.
As in previous exhibitions Keller turns the art space into an observatory in which the viewer gets involved with questions of perception and representation.
Mesmerization - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
To be mesmerized literally means to undergo the treatment of Franz Mesmer, to be "magnetized". This idiomatic word is, however, more widely used and means to be thoroughly moved or changed by something, obsessed by something or similar things.
The first room of the gallery is used as the reception room to the Mesmer room/practice. Vis à vis to the entrance there is a large round mirror greeting the viewer, where there used to be the doorway. The back-rooms of the gallery are dark, each with a video as the main piece.
At first sight the videowork "hypnosis-film" is a documentation of a hypnosis-session. During the flow of the video the viewer presents out that he himself is the actual subject of the hypnosis. The process of identification with the protagonist is an inherent mechanism in the culture of film. Trust and reassurance are its means. Film is a hypnotic medium. The director is a hypnotist.
The video "psychological optic" presents a series of kineoptical effects taken from scientific footage. Like in hypnosis, the approach, the "parole" of this work is rational and conscious ? but the effect takes place in the unconsciousness and is therefore uncanny.
The last room reveals the round mirror from the entrance to be a two-way/ spy-mirror. "untitled (inverted vertov kino eye)" is a conceptual piece placing a round spy mirror at the side- or the back-wall of any projection-room, so that the viewer can see where he just has been and the condition of the darkroom is addressed.
Two or three lightboxes, 72,5 x 72,5 cm each hanging on the wall in the back of the projection, maybe also one in the reception room behind the desk. The lightboxes show details of flower structures in negative (inverse) color. They are connected to the psychological optic video in that they use an optical effect that is both mesmerizing and uncanny.
"continuous present", video-mirror in which the viewer sees him/herself slowed down to half speed motion. At the beginning of each 30 second-sequence the mirror image is shown simultaneously, but then gradually the counter-image fades into the past.
The piece consists of a computer a camera and a monitor that will be placed on the oven in the reception room.
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