What is time? How can it be measured? Such philosophical questions lie at the heart of many of Fiete Stolte’s works. And yet the artist chooses not to simply introduce them in words but to present them instead to the viewer in form of aesthetic ideas, thus allowing them to freshly discover complex subjects through images and sensory experiences. Stolte’s most recent work ‘Vitreous Essay on Permanence’ is dedicated to infinity.
Starting point for Stolte’s large format polaroid works is the symbolically charged hourglass, an emblem for the passing of time. In his series of 50 Uniques, a selection of which will be on display at the exhibition, the artist at once manages to emphasise the uniqueness of the fleeting moment while simultaneously being able to capture the eternal flow of time.
With the help of a minor alteration – the hourglass has been cut open at the top and the bottom – Stolte is able to manipulate the everyday object to his own purposes: since the sand is no longer collected at the bottom of the vessel but caught by the artist’s hand the act of turning the hourglass has become obsolete. The familiar time interval, previously measured and determined by the hourglass, has ceased to exist. Instead of restricted intervals determining the time scale inside the closed system of the hourglass we now have linear motion.
The sand is again and again refilled from the top by the artist himself – a Sisyphean task. Yet the physical intervention by the artist, who through the process of catching and replenishing the grains of sand has become part of the machine/hourglass, signifies much more: the ‘poetic touch’ slicing open and expanding our thoughts with one precise cut. The camera flash of the polaroid hasn’t just captured the ray of sand, or ray of time, but also the human being behind the photograph subjectively intervening in the universal concept of infinity.
For a further sound installation the artist has composed a ‘synthetic canon’: various recordings of grains of sand caught falling on different surfaces merge into a very special body of sound not necessarily possible to hear naturally otherwise. The actual experience of the sound differs from our internal expectations. Fiete Stolte manages to fine tune our perception towards an abstract concept, encouraging us to explore time with all our senses.
Vitreous Essay on Permanence # 16-20, 2017
Polaroids with inscribed passe-partout
Each 25,4 x 20,3 cm, framed 37 x 31 cm
Signed and numbered on back
Series of 30 uniques