Magdalena Kreinecker: Only Time
Organic forms dance on a dark background like flecks of light. Our eyes search for meaning in the abstraction, forming associations with other familiar images. Dappled sunlight on the wall of a room, an interstellar molecular cloud.
As nonchalant as the compositions of Magdalena Kreinecker’s etchings may seem, they are anything but random: they are the product of a meticulous formation process in which the analog and the digital go hand in hand. The connection between the copper printing plate and the photographic plate on which the incident light leaves its trace is not only established through their technical similarities, but also through the artist’s method.
Found motif fragments are scanned, distorted, and arranged before being exposed onto a screen. The screen is subsequently used to etch the image onto the printing plate with tree resin, when it is finally ready to be printed onto paper. This is not merely a time-consuming procedure: time is also materially inherent in its result. Time, in the sense of the duration of the etching, becomes the determining factor of the completed work.
Multiple layers are superimposed on top of each other, whether digitally or through repeated printing. The boundaries between the image planes become indistinct, and a blurriness emerges that challenges and deceives our gaze. Magdalena Kreinecker’s compositions refer to what the artist and author Hito Steyerl calls the “uncertainty principle of modern documentarism.” Images that seek to convey immediacy and authenticity in their blurriness, but ultimately reveal nothing but “their own excitement.” (1) Underlying this discourse is always the question of reality, its portrayal, and its digital manipulation. Which images can we believe, and: can we trust our own eyes?
The brilliant luster of the copper plate remains in the studio, yet Only Time is permeated with questions that address the faded aura of technologically reproducible artworks. As a digital storage medium and conductor, copper has long since acquired a new aura— that of power over knowledge and its availability.
The artist shatters any associations with the cool feel of the storage medium by using soft, long-fibered and porous tissue paper. As an image carrier, it seems fragile, although its elasticity makes it resistant; it is hand-dyed and woven into webs on objects in the space, which Magdalena Kreinecker furnishes with subtle historical references. Not an aura, but an impression of the sacred.
Only Time. A dash of emotion. Kitsch? Or pop, like the vibrant lilac on a red background?
The title is an ironic gesture—or is there also, perhaps, a glimmer of seriousness, a touch of “unguilty pleasure”(2) at play here? Who can say?
(1) Hito Steyerl, Die Farbe der Wahrheit, 2008, 7.
(2) Chilly Gonzales, Enya: A Treatise on Unguilty Pleasures, 2020.