Past Exhibition

Robert Schaberl_Zentraformen

Schaberl's works stem from the concept central forms (zentralformen). It is an idea which he has long delved into in order to find the perfect balance between materials and forms. With this aim in mind, he employed the circle as a visual lead and explored the meanings that could be extracted from it. Circular form embodies boundless notions such as center, origin or essence. It also conveys nature's rhythmic pulse that comes and goes endlessly. In his recent works, Schaberl experiments with gold leaf and powder that seem to explode from the calm abyss of pitch darkness. Thousands of layers of concentric circles simultaneously discharging both centrifugal and centripetal forces emanate a very direct and actual sensation that instantly awakens the senses.

Light also plays a significant role. Once the circular form initiates tension between color and shape, light escalates it. Seen from the front the work is inanimate, letting out no vibration. However when the viewer tilts her head or moves slightly to the side, the motion is transmitted and the light responds revealing unexpected hues. It is as if we hear a symphony of light and color that resonate within a solid tranquility.

Many artists probed into light. Whether as a tool or as a theme, from masters such as Caravaggio, Vermeer and Monet to today's Irwin, Turrell and Wheeler, light played a decisive role in their works. Each applied different features of light, but it is in the contemporary art scene that witnessed a meaningful transition in the viewers' sensory augmentation using their active and voluntary participation.

Robert Irwin's understanding and use of light might yield a hint in interpreting Schaberl's works. His 60's untitled work is an aluminum disc sprayed with color mixed in properties of light. Employing the reflection and refraction of light it looks as if it seems to float in the air or dissolve into the surrounding along with the viewer's movement. Radiating energy of light and its interplay with the indeterminate space disorient the viewer's perception.

The mind is forced to question and doubt since all preconceived notions on color and form is challenged. It is at this stage when the viewer acknowledges her existence afresh. Irwin once mentioned, "to be an artist is not a matter of making paintings or objects at all. What we are dealing with is our state of consciousness and the shape of our perception".

For Schaberl too, the interplay between the viewer and the object carries an important role. He believes his work becomes complete only when the viewer is involved in the experience. Now it is in the eye of the audience that can fathom what all these lights might reach.

Dong Jo Chang


The Columns Gallery