by Rosanne Altstatt
at galerie christian
The interpretation of information across
the void of time and space are key elements
in Renee Green's installation at Galerie
Christian Nagel in Cologne, titled
Uebertragen / Transfer and comprising a
look back at the notorious events at Kent
State University in Kent, Ohio, in 1970.
The question of what is remembered or
discarded, what is understood or
misunderstood across geographic and
cultural borders is reinforced by the fact
that the show is running simultaneously
with Green's parallel exhibition at Pat
Hearn Gallery in New York.
Decked out in colors no one would be caught
dead wearing in the `80s, the Cologne show
has the retro-'70s esthetic found in many a
"hip" gallery today. What makes it
different and appealing in the `90s?
Zeitgeist and subtle details--photos of
monuments to the four students shot at Kent
State during a war protest have a
contemporary quality, maps of the region
around Lake Erie are pinned on a wall
painted in bright orange. The orange is
`70s, but its combination with the maps and
wall is not.
Central to the exhibition are videos that
can be watched while sitting on pea-green
throw pillows. One videotape presents a
re-assesment of the the past in the form of
testimonials to "the way it was" in Ohio.
Super-8 footage from a Germany and U.S.
that no longer exists is played on an
adjacent monitor. Another video shows
interviews with people born in Germany and
living in the states. While Crosby, Stills,
Nash and Young's Ohio plays in the
background, the viewer can watch the film
Underground or see a re-thinking of
Robert Smithson's Partially Buried
Woodshed. The videos, photos and music
construct a feeling for the time when Green
was a child, but she can only put the
pieces together subjectively. The end
result is an exhibition working on many
levels, encompassing a dwindling sense of
time and location in an era when the masses
receive "direct" information about the past
and the present from around the globe,
about personal history, and the capacity of
ROSANNE ALTSTATT is a critic and curator
working in Cologne.
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