Sprache / language

Automaten und Halbautomaten (en)

Automats and Semi-Automats 



Automats and Semi-Automaten, demonstration at Marstall Schloß Benrath, Düsseldorf, 6.4.1994,
Invitation by Neuer Tanz

Karin Stempel

Dramas of everyday or everyday dramas
The Automats and Semi-Automats by Karl-Heinz Mauerman

Yes or No, On or Off - the user of Mauermann's automats and semi-automats find themselves in a permanent neurosis of decisions; moreover, the logic of the automats subversively sabotages the logic of the user, although there are never any  hitches. On the contrary.

The instructions are formulated clearly and precisely: Press Button Yes / Press Button No. Function: the little lamp is turned on / the little lamp is not turned on. Logical!

But do be honest, did you expect to activate something, by pressing button No? Well you did - the little lamp does not light up. Right? Well then.
And: did you really think that 'poisonous' was poisonous only while the measuring apparatus was turned on? What you can turn on or off, however, is merely the illumination of the scala. Painful, but true.

Admit it: Mauermann's trivial gadgets have done you in. In each case, things are quite different from what you might have expected. Of course the alarm sign will light up, when you signal the existence of some danger, and it will turn off when you switch back the danger switch - what else did you think?

In the world of automats, everything happens exclusively according to plan. Automats do not think, or do they? Perhaps it merely appears as if they did. There exists a logic of function – a mechanism that can be started or not, that can be directed and controlled, turned on and off just like yourself ...

But let's leave it like that. The situation is absurd and the discussion superfluous. We know. „It is a joke he's after” - so it is best to laugh. Laughng is healthy. A fact Karl Valentin knew, long before now. And laughing liberates, on occasion even from thinking. - And too much thinking is merely harmful.

So we don't take these automats seriously. A playful trifle, witty and humourous, ironical, yes sometimes even subtle, sometimes full of esprit and the discreet charm of innocence.

But beware: it does work - or did you really believe these funny boxes and cases, these little lamps and switches to be the automats? It is YOU who reacts on pressing a button - or don't you?

AB 45134, semi-automat / acoustic, 1994, 20 x 28 x 16





From 3.6. to 1.7. 1994, Kunsthaus Essen shows the third selected by jury exhibition 'Essen artists' in a series of four. Jury: Ute Eskildsen, Gerhard Finkh, Gerd Schütte, Herrmann Sturm

Angelika Held

Automats and Semi-Automats

On the works by Karl-Heinz Mauermann

It is less the aesthetic charm, or working with a given material that Karl-Heinz Mauermann is interested in. He rather engages with aphorisms, which he will then transform into his very own language of images. Here, Karl-Heinz Mauermann sees himself as much in the position of image-creating artist, as of language artist.  With his art he tells tales that display their own reality.

Everyday visual and acoustic signs of the world of the media are taken up and transferred into a completely different contextual sense. Existing  logical contexts are dissolved, as they are newly combined, new logisms are created. Iconographic and linguistic signs are juxtaposed.

He started out with small brochures proffering satirical advise on conduct in threatening situations of life; in later works, the medium computer was added, by means of which acoustic signals could be adapted, and thus the surreal tales extended into an additional level. The computer itself was used as a communicating apparatus.

The works shown in this exhibition are home-made machines that adopt, in a simple way, the complex mechanisms of a computer, and encourage the observers to actively involve themselves. Brief users' instructions describe the precise operation. Here, the visitor to the exhibition is confronted with the most lucid logisms, such as he is familiar with even without having to follow these instructions. However, curiosity, and an inherent desire to understand, make him compliant. And yet an actual understanding of the function is withheld. The user is merely shown deductions, while he is confronted with his ability to conceive endless analogies.

Karl-Heinz Mauermann plays with simple logial contexts of sense, and thus in his work humourously taps into the analogous reasoning of the observer. He creates „Art for the Masses” that appeals to everyone and allows for a playful reception. His works are no precious artefacts which put a distance between themselves and the recipient of art. By contrast, primitive materials like cardboard boxes or other everyday objects encourage a playful reception of art.