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Markus Raetz

Tout-Rien, 1999
varnished brass
8.5 x 87.5 x 7.2 cm
Markus Raetz’s work has generated numerous instances of wordplay and linguistic games. The titles Zeemansblik, Nothing Is Lighter than Light and NO W HERE point up that proliferation of the meanings of words when the sense changes dramatically, is annulled or comes with a dual definition.

The artist has devised certain works on the basis of words written out in three dimensions, whose possible reading is always conditioned by the viewer’s moving around the piece. Tout-rien, todo-nada, oui-non, yes-no, ceci-cela, same-same – slowly Raetz’s work teaches those looking at it to shift their position in space and change their point of view to discover a different truth. on the other side of a tout, an “everything” lies its opposite, rien, “nothing”, a contradiction in simultaneous translation that is paradoxically impossible to observe simultaneously. Between the disappearance of one word and the appearance of the other on which it depends, a world of abstract signs springs up whose meaning remains impenetrable. Through this kind of play, Raetz introduces doubt about the stability of phenomena that emerge before our eyes; our perception is constantly stimulated and changed because of it.

A multitude of visual possibilities exists between a head and an abstract figure, between Beuys and his hare, between yes and no and everything or nothing. Max Wechsler sums up the artist’s approach in these terms: “An art focused on the search for meaning that inevitably leads to a feeling of a verbal and mental void – beneficial but inevitable. We can try to seek refuge in ‘meanings’ and ‘contents’ until we are eventually forced to admit that the sense of this art doesn’t aim for its obvious ‘content’ but rather that it acquires above all its ‘meaning’ by exploring the conditions of the work of art itself and the mechanism of its effects. Raetz’s work transports us to a space of images that overturns – not without humour – our naïve resorting to vision to confirm reality.”
Markus Raetz, Tout-Rien, 1999