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performance Hot Compost, 17 october 2021, M hka

Installationview Hot Compost, october/november 2021, M hka

with Night Shop, 182 x 325

C´est dans l´espace vide que ca se passe, retravaillé, 270 x 250

et Se Nourrir et Nourrir les Autres, 180 x 260


The work of Annick Nölle has always struck me as light, flighty even, free-spirited and ever so positive – that is why I was slightly concerned to find the reference to mourning in this installation... to mourn the loss of something or someone is to view the past – to re-view. Perhaps my view of a happy-go-lucky and permanently positive artist is but a figment of my own imagination... based on past instances in which I had the privilege to work with her – for instance on the A Ripple in the Stuff of the Universe installation, part of the Ramble series at the Felixart museum, and certainly the various “Jaarlijks Verlof/Vacances annuelles” and various interventions during 'Laboratoires Patacyclistes' and group projects like the Cadavre Exquis in the rue de Flandre.

Annick told me: addressing the question of mourning is one way to talk about how we humans deal with ourselves and our environment in this particular society at this specific moment in time. The way we mourn, or rather not mourn, is in my opinion a serious issue we should really start to deal with, for the sake of Peace. There´s a lot of unmourned sadness in our society that turns into violence. I see grieving as a way to process the gap between what we want and what is real, and making room for something new.

In her earlier work, A Ripple in the Stuff of the Universe, Annick Nölle referenced the literature of Mark Twain and subtitled the 'Wild is the Wind' section with a quote: ‘Light out for the territories’. It represents the wish for an unorganized landscape full of potential, much like the field or cloud of potentialities in quantum field theory – which also emerged at the turn of the (former) century.   

The materials hark back to a time when the gifts of nature still seemed abundant and life was not yet as commercialized as it is today; freedom of thought, factual though it may be, is under strain through all kinds of applications that influence or affect one’s behavior without one even realizing it. 

‘Becoming more conscious’ is one of the aspects that is presented here in a whirlwind of potentials, in which the evisceration of bowels – against the wind – becomes a way to reference not only the microbiome yet also that which we all refer to as 'gut feeling'...

The smock from the invitation and performance reminds one of the painters of yore, and its length is reminiscent of the work of Gabriele Münter (not only as a painter, but mainly the anthropologically interesting photographs she made during her visit to the American Midwest at the turn of the (former) century), who, together with Kandinsky, breached the barrier of abstraction in Western culture back in 1911... heady times which are reflected here: the various grounds, both earth-colored and translucent, populated by any number of representational, fragmentary and abstracted thoughts – put to paper and cut, pasted, arranged and juxtaposed again through repeated manipulation – that pertain to personal reflections as well as notions of NonViolentCommunication, seeking connection so as to facilitate new solutions to old problems... much as for instance Max Plank would think outside of the box to address problems not solved by classic means.

Annick Nölle's work keeps changing yet always retains a connection with earlier incarnations. It is precisely when one thinks one understands it that the surprise strikes, and nothing appears to be in place; it either swirls around in a cloud of potentialities or lingers for a moment, as it does in a ‘dérive’ or ‘déjeuner sur l'herbe’, with all the elements seemingly disorganised and scattered across the bedspread on the floor or in the air, and the snacks and delicacies mixed in with tracts and essays, heartfelt sentiments and heartfelt laughter. An inspiring conversation of signs and ideas that, at a moment's notice, makes one's head spin so that one might require a moment's rest, one in which one can still perceive the gentle sloshing of digestion.


Chris Straetling (in cooperation with Annick Nölle)

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