September 10 till October 22, 2011

„But I don’t want to go among mad people.““Oh you can’t help that. Most everyone’s mad here – you may have noticed that I’m not all there myself.“(From the dialogue between Alice and the Cheshire Cat in Walt Disney’s version of Alice in Wonderland.)The Cheshire Cat starts to dissolve in mid-sentence; the vanishing begins with its violet stripes; for a moment, all that remains is the pink frame of a cat.

You think that’s funny? – Sometimes, discovering something requires that we take little step outside of our ordinary sensations. A prevailing mood of doubt may prove helpful, worries, perhaps even an insight. Then suddenly you become aware of the shadow. No Disney cartoon has this kind of comprehensive darkness, an all-encompassing, claustrophobia-inducing blanket that cloaks you while the floor is constantly disappearing underfoot. To identify with Alice without accepting all of the given circumstances (as the fearless space cadet does) leads to fear.

Loss of control! Everything that the countless self-help books of this world can convey in the “You can do it!” imperative comes crashing down. No salvation, no gloss. Not even on stage, the simulacrum of immortal greatness.

But there again we meet Disney’s Alice, as Tinkerbell in „Peter Pan“ and Aurora in „Sleeping Beauty“. Yet the Cheshire Cat disappears. It remains an enigmatic figure, on par with Max Schreck in Murnau’s Nosferatu. Yes, it may indeed be a creature beyond time and space. Though the frame of the cat represents just a single, frozen moment of its being, for us, the time in Claus Richter’s clocks ruthlessly marches along in silent, merciless cruelty.Representing this vanishing of order as an orderly vanishing is a superficial comfort. It promises a safe place to linger, a protected sphere of solitary privacy. The dreamt refuge of suffering fairytale kings. But the view from the window into the world (if only virtual) wakens every anxious insight once again.“Claus Richter is inspired by every mechanism of seduction in the consumer world“ writes the web-based German Socialist newspaper Die Rote Fahne („The Red Flag“). Next to that, advertising for their own online shops, where readers can purchase custom-printed coffee mugs with revolutionary slogans. – You think that’s funny?

Now, I’ve said nothing about „interventions in space“. Perhaps it is because I myself, as I said, am not all there.

I beg your pardon.

Oliver Tepel