Wie das Baden im Nichts ist. Inneres Feuer – Teil 2


1996, 00:06:38, PAL, color, sound, K005 08

The work Wie das Baden im Nichts ist. Inneres Feuer (Teil 2) is appertains to the video trilogy Inneres Feuer. In the first part Wundbrand (1991), Karawahn placed the fluids that result from processes of melting and boiling at the center of his work, dominated by shades of red. In the second part, Karawahn borrowed from Yves Klein’s Anthropométries. For what he called painting “with a live brush,” the proponent of Nouveau Réalisme pressed female bodies covered in blue paint directly against a canvas. In the final year before his death in 1962, Klein took his Anthropométries a step further in his Fire Paintings, painting using the traces of fire, an element to which Klein assigned mythical qualities. In Wie das Baden im Nichts ist, Karawahn combines the aspect of the transcendence of the color blue with that of fire and, like Klein, works with “models” of both genders that swim in a blue substance reminiscent both of water and the smallest and purest part of a flame. Karawahn’s intricate video montage also includes negative images of the performers, who in so doing themselves become orange-red fire bodies and finally seem to burn, before the experimental video work returns to deep shade of blue. As in his other works as well, here the artist collaborated with Blixa Bargeld, the lead singer from Einstürzende Neubauten, who used the human voice as raw material for his composition, applying it in various samples that recall breathing, wheezing, whispering, and screaming. The action, video and photo artist, who in his own words deals with the history of the relationship between humanity and fire, refers repeatedly in his work to the writings of French philosopher Gaston Bachelard, who in his Psychoanalysis of Fire (1938) discovered an independent, alternative “truth” in archetypical and pre-scientific images of the elements.