Glass door (Repräsentation)
128 cm x 48 cm, metal hinges
A smaller glass door is placed inside a larger door frame. A semi-obstruction; a non-functional, rigid saloon door which as an immovable door-cum-wall won’t bounce back but as a surface refracts sound and reflects movement in space and reminds us that the structural architecture of letting through or not, into backrooms, is real.
Invitations to openings.
Openings acting as obstructions to experiencing art.
Obstructing openings at openings.
At first glance the transparency offers some pictorial urge to frame something, a window-like focal point. And indeed each room that it reflects or sees-through is a glimpse of oneself or the other. Halting flow instead of accompanying it makes the viewer accommodate. Just as so much of the social scene of the art world and its architecture does in both the face and experience of art itself. It puts into it, en-route, semi-obstructive immovable objects which assemble with a labyrinthian effect where privilege is the master key, diamond saw and sledge hammer.
The listening ear in arts does not only hear works of sound it is also attuned to the sound of doors closing and the gradual slipping through to a limited capacity.
“Back in June 2022 we asked artist Sanna Helena Berger to take part of The Neu Workshop at Zirka, Munich. She decided to make a book which shares an entirely unedited and unrevised collection of matter that surrounded her at the time. Allowing for complete transparency of her surrounding and circumstance. From scanned books with notes in the margin, receipts from Italian gelato stands as bookmarks,Berger’s own work on the topic of transparency of personal and domestic circumstance and reflections on the decorum of art experiences figure throughout. The book has a as a cover, not a hard case but a bag. The ultimate weight of intellectual gravitas – the book, encased in the ultimate commodity and sign of luxury, the bag. Titled ‘Der ganz normale luxus’, these topics intertwine in a humorous but sincere setting shown as installation together with a video which acts as an advertisement. Mixing perfume titles with baroque sentiments of commerce and commodities, the viewer is encouraged to ‘Remain Basic’ as a mock-up perfume campaign. “
There is no way to poeticise this situation, this is not an attempt to. People are suffering and it is
manifesting itself in innumerable, implacable forms. There is a direct urgency; the acute active
being in this moment which paradoxically makes us stand still. And in this stand-still our
movements are different and other. We know where we go because we go nowhere.
A patchy interference.
The it that is when the other is not.
The occasional intermezzo.
We encounter from afar someone whom we now relate to in a circumference. The margin of
distance which we keep from others have grown, and so gesticulation becomes broader as our
small and simple gestures lose weight in conversation.
But this is not an analysis of movement, it is a reorientation of being. Being alone, being with
others and behaving so as to be for others allowing them to remain.
Art is a fickle matter in my mind in this being. This is nothing new but perhaps it is heightened
here, in the now. I have struggled to know the urgency of art as a need, as an essential for a
while. Not the art already made, not my art, in particular, but all art being made en masse, in
abundance, everywhere, now.
I feel it sometimes as a matter; suffocating, even in the best of circumstances and now just as
much, in the worst. I take escape in it whilst simultaneously finding it circumstantially futile. But
then the growing abundance has made the last years a steady incline of an attitude of satiation.
A wave is just now curling into an arched form only to break hard and soft into an activity of
The swell, as well is a swelling volume that expands the room and at the same time, reduces it
In the past I have oscillated between the urgency and the indifference. But now I have become
untethered to the anchor that always held me from exiting the realm of reverence for the art.
There is a differentiation to be made here. No matter how difficult and contested the case might
be to make, there must be a caveat to this emotional state of exhaustion. This is the personal, in
which things are felt that risk being misunderstood, not understood, rejected or rejoiced. I am
not looking to offend or assemble.
There is too much of everything and I am too tired of all of it (tired is a poor adjective but I don’t
know how else to describe it, except to say it brings upon a kind of dull tiredness, an apathy) to
discover the new. Tired from exposing others to my art, tired from exposure to others art.
Because it has become so much and because it is everywhere and houses everything it has
also become reduced to barely anything. This opinion probably fluctuates and were I held
accountable to it as a definite I would surely eat my words and perhaps my works at a later
point. But I leave it in here with the proviso to opt out eventually.
This is not to say that my output is more valuable than any other.
I am a new mother.
This has to be said. Because the new and seeming infinite zest for motherhood is a removal
from everything. Because it opens up a space for being in a room so vast for me and so
cramped for others that it is a kind of tardis of self. Your outlook changes.
This is not to say that my circumstances make me more purposeful than any other.
The projection of the image of the self onto the self, is itself an image. Of all that, which is on
show, it is that which is not on show, through its absence, that which it is. Even a wide and
voluminous form it is a flat surface. A representative deliberative body.
Methods vary and develop. Motherhood is a change of circumstance, a welcome noise that
accompanies any future dialogue; the not-so-silent partner.
But these were circumstances that existed before and during the making of this work and exists
as a chimera merging with the circumstances of now, in the context of the crisis.
The work that was to be on show were movements which resulted from a collaborative process
representative of personal parallels. A relationship shown. The decision to not show the work
was a result of responsibilities to not gather bodies in a space where closeness resulted in risk
of repercussion. So the work which was intensely personal in its delivery recoiled in the impact
of the reconsideration into an echo of sorts of its original idea.
Within the disparity of moving from physical to digital we lost a lot of voices which could have
been heard. The impact of seeing the personal, in person and the implications of the eventual
impatience with something slow and gradual released into a cascade of information could be
speculated on. And in the many-worlds that may have materialised as a result of us following
through with the work in physical form, there may be repercussions echoing ad infinitum.
But here we are, in the one in which we are in, in which the decision was made to stop
something going ahead, something which had been gaining momentum for months, at a time
when it was an individual responsibility rather than a reprimandable one, to stop and make a
And there is something to be said about the loss of opportunity, the loss of labour and the luxury
of loss without devastation as consequence. But this is something I leave to others, much more
able-bodied and acute voices on the topic of loss since I live in abundance and feel entirely
aware of the luxury in which I watch my daughter develop without lacking or needing without
But personally I don’t know how to react. I have, at times the aching sense of guilt of my
position, I have a roof and a floor with ample space in between and food and family and the
generosity of others and the belonging to a welfare system which offers me support.
I have, at times, a present frustration of being elsewhere when I miss simple pleasures of home,
a domesticity which nests nuggets of longing. And leaving many many far more complex
emotions aside, ones that arise when being safe in a state of crisis where so many suffer.
Where analysis of my own empathy and action and reaction is occurring from a metaphorical
armchair of comfort, a place of privilege in which I can consider my relation to art in its relation
It is a time of paradoxes. Where every element of home-life is shared as a kind of support
structure onto which the system of care leans. And in this structure I am not sure that the joinery
of life and of art production is a chimera I can stroke the hairs of. (Please see above caveat)
Because I am not certain of anything at this time, I am no expert even of my own attitudes.
And so the very blunt resulting thought is not a result at all, just a way to end these typed out
thoughts is to say that I don’t know how I feel about this video and this work in the context of
which it is released. Perhaps there are some symmetries in possible worlds, both in the one
which we choose to show the work and in the one in which we don’t, because I was uncertain
before and I am uncertain now, on different grounds but rooted in the same systemic
This was not the preferred medium of the reception of this work, but this work exists entirely on
the basis of the state of our current existence. And so there would be no video without the virus
and this text would have been superfluous without the video. It exists in a bind in which what is
said is a comment on the commentary of current situations, a quagmire of a gesture. A trope in
itself of what I am not sure I am digesting with ease in this new life; art.
Sanna Helena Berger
U.K, 1 may 2020