… when they eye HAVING SEEN IT ALL, squints itself closed over the picture, between tree and woman, wide open the large and only window …
Heiner Müller, Description of a Picture

6-Channel Audio Installation, 2014

Composition, Voice, Installation: Jan Mech
Text: Bildbeschreibung/Descripción de un cuadro by Heiner Müller
Translation: Jorge Riechmann

Descripción De Un Cuadro (Bildbeschreibung) is a spatial composition and audio installation featuring the same-named text by (East) German writer Heiner Müller. This text was written in 1985-86 for the stage at the author’s height of experimentation with theatrical forms. In a short annotation Müller remarks that it “may be seen as a painting”. This installation emphasizes the pictorial aspects of the text and brings it back to the exhibition space. This piece consists of the representation of Heiner Müller’s monologue along with a musical score in a setup of six loudspeakers arranged to form a circle. The audience, in the middle, is surrounded by the combined sound of the spoken text and Jan Mech’s music composition. By omitting any depiction and by relying on the spectator’s own interpretation of the perceptible sound, the artist transports the audience inside the picture. The text is composed out of a single sentence. It begins, as the title suggests, as a description. As it goes on, the describer bursts the spatial and temporal frames of the image, unfettering it from its temporal and spatial boundaries. Therefore, this piece becomes a reflection, not only on the process of watching an image, but also on our human condition in a broader sense: The paradox of being rooted in the past and the present simultaneously. Müller understands history as a space without linear time, “where it doesn’t matter when an action takes place”. The spectator, in the present, is searching for the “redeeming mistake”, the gap in the perception that might open a door between theses spheres.

Installation view at Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona (Spain)