Friday, 26 June 2009, 24:00 | midnight

#7: Ulrich Polster

Ulrich Polster’s artistic practice finds its roots in the experimental filmmaking that developed in East Germany in the 1980s as an informal, cultural space for critical reflection and distance. In the early 90s it repeatedly became a site for a reformulation of artistic and media positions. Ulrich Polster’s contemporary installations draw on a formal vocabulary which encompasses elements of video art since the 70s and the large-scale video installations of the 90s — Bruce Nauman and Douglas Gordon being two reference points.To this practice of image production he adds a number of specific cinematographic processes as well as a new aesthetic and conceptual element taken from an Eastern image world, which hints at the kind of spirituality that pervades iconographic painting as well as, for example, Andreï Tarkovski’s films. As such it is also making a point relevant to media theory. Stéphanie Katz’s suggestion, to look at Ulrich Polster’s video images as light boxes, aptly describes the specificity of his particular way of doing things. On the surface his projections create an impression of being behind glass — they are impenetrable and cold, while at the same time appearing to be illuminated from behind by an immaterial golden base.

Cold colours, a very matter-of-fact narrative logic, precise editing and a generously and clearly outlined form. From his nervous and aggressive room installations to his quiet, powerful images — at times filmed with an classical attention to detail — Ulrich Polster’s works are that of a purist. Their austere beauty and simple force gives his video pieces a timeless quality not usually found in this medium. Ulrich Polster takes a fairly relaxed approach to staging the social and cultural clashes of our present system: sometimes as drift and derivé between different elements of a possible aesthetic experience, sometimes in explicit, hard images, that speak for themselves: donkeys standing around in stubborn immobility — a man having the ground pulled away from beneath his feet — a man and a woman perpetually falling off a chair — two people maniacally slapping each other’s shoulders — a closed and an open fist. – Alexander Koch in Breaking the Clash, Januar 2005

Ulrich Polster presents:

ANTONOV, 1995, 11:29 min
FROST, 2002, 06:04 min
MISH., 2009, 35:19 min
NOW TIME (Trailer), 2009, 02:33 min


Ulrich Polster (b. 1963 in Frankenberg, former GDR) lives and work in Berlin. Er gehört zu jener Generation ostdeutscher Künstler, die den wirtschaftlichen, kulturellen und ästhetischen Bruch, der mit dem Zerfall der Sowjetunion und der Öffnung dieses anderen Europas gen Westen einherging, ganz bewusst erlebt hat und bewältigen musste. Nach einer ersten Phase der Assimilation westlicher Ideen, nachdem sich die Flut des Neuen allmählich erschöpfte, gelang es dieser Generation, sich auf ihr eigenes ästhetisches Erbe zurückzubesinnen – eine Entwicklung, die ihnen heute einen völlig neuen Blick auf den visuellen Stoff der Gegenwart ermöglicht. – Stéphanie Katz in Point de vue d’ici, par ailleurs

Ulrich Polster’s web site: