Hilde Retzlaff — Logogram
Logogram is both the title of the exhibition and the works. Logogram is a symbol, that stands for a word, but sometimes it represents something considerably smaller, a morpheme, and at other times, something bigger, an idea. One thing that is certain is that it never stands for a linguistic sound. These works, casts made from material found in the environment, belong to an essentially silent world.
This silence is somewhat surprising since we are also dealing with negative molds. This is a technique, which is often used for loud effects, like Rachel Whitereads gripping negative house molds. What does Logogram have to do with these negative molds? In a logogram an idea is realised through materialization, that isn’t quite correct: the gap between graphic form and the contents concept, will always be there. It is this space that Retzlaff is trying to mold in the mind. Her use of negative molds reflects what contains an idea, the actual form in its immateriality. The idea in the crafting of the mold consists of the same immaterially as it has in the idea, the form has left the material. At least her method turns the conscious mind back in that direction. This is often emphasised by, what one could call “the inappropriate” choice of material she uses: the molds of Styrofoam packaging are made out of concrete, as if the material was to neutralise, something that is simply there, irrespective of its specific qualities.
She has created her symbols from objects that she has found. They almost appear to her as the world does to some mystics, who can see, that the world is written in a magnificently subtle and avoiding language. But the material she has found shows that our language, in reality, is not magnificent: we have created the logograms by opening and throwing out the packaging in order to use the products. The French movement Nouveau Réalism often used similar material to give us a sober picture of what our culture actually is. I can imagine, that in Retzlaffs case, it has less to do with actual culture than the thinking and the production of ideas today. Creativity is not creating ideas, it hits me, but rather the system, that through its broken, thrown out semi objects, portray imaginative bi-products that we don’t really manage to reach. The dystopian is emphasised since the molds look like they are encapsulated by concrete, in a way, that makes one think about the handling of nuclear waste. Is it imaginative waste we are contemplating here? Or is it a symbol for thoughts about care (packaging) that have been abused?
That the symbols she finds are fragments from objects suggest that this language entirety has disappeared. It is impossible to connect a certain word or idea to a certain symbol. This is a statement, that these works want to remain somewhat alone, isolated by an explanatory debate. You will have to meet them separately. But because they lack a connection you can perhaps see them in some sort of periodic system. In such a system all the elements are included, isolated from each other, without anything being said, about what happens when you combine them together in a lab. Whether a combination is explosive or not, can only be discovered through experiments. I can imagine that some constellations by Retzlaffs elementary forms, can be mind-blowing, in an exhibition.
Lars-Erik Hjertström Lappalainen