Exhibition of
photographic works by Siglinde KalInbach THIS TEXT IN GERMAN / DiESER TEXT IN DEUTSCH
at the in focus Gallery in Cologne
(Burkhard Arnold)
14 January - 13 February 2000 (together with Christine Webster, New Zealand)
then: Marzellenstr. 9, 50667 Köln
today: Brüsseler Str. 83, 50672 Köln
Tel. u. Fax: 0221/13 00 341, galerie@in-focus-fotogalerie-koeln.de

Siglinde KalInbach, who earlier lived in Kassel and then in Berlin, moved to Cologne in 1994. A graduate of the Kassel College of Fine Arts and Kassel University, she spent an academic year in 1977/78 at Auckland University in New Zealand. Several extended journeys led her to Australia, Japan and various other Asian countries. On Sri Lanka she was taught for two months by a master in fire dance, and she was introduced into the mysteries of Japanese Yamabushi by their monks, learning through intensive meditation and contemplation how to run through fire without feeling pain or suffering burns.

The fire, ash, wax and paint played an important role in her performances up to the mid-1990s both as dramaturgic artistic materials and as elements with a mythological ritual significance. The photographic works which are now being exhibited show that in this context the status of a 'material' has been assigned to one's own body within the process of the performance, which is processed in an extreme away sometimes reminiscent of historical methods of torture with tar and feathers. In some painting performances, the discrepancy between the body and space is suspended. Acting with the paint extends in an expressive gesture from the body to the walls and the floor of the performance space and leads from these immediate surroundings back to one's own physical and psychic Ego.

Where, apart from the archaic nature of fire, above all the phenomenon of the 'witch' from the history of religion is taken up, this staging of the body recurs also to questions concerning female identity. Siglinde KalInbach demonstrated the degradation of women in the extremely brutal Japanese porno comics to a Far Eastern audience through the intentionally repulsive act of sticking warm rice and Katsubushi fish flakes on her naked body. On the two hundredth anniversary of the storming of the Bastille, she drew attention to the fact that the ideals of the French Revolution include brotherliness, but not necessarily sisterliness, by wearing a body covering made of raw egg and feathers, albeit with a clear rejection of the dogmatism of the radical feminist movement.

In Siglinde KalInbach's work, the fathoming of physical existentiality goes far beyond the often formalistic body art, and is combined sometimes also in her most recent performances with trance techniques which she learned in Asia. At the same time, the employment of the body covered in paint and other materials is not directed toward itself, but is an impulsive, outward articulation. The relics of these performances subsequently represent an independent artistic staging as an installation which has been removed from the situational event. Likewise, the photographic works that have arisen in this way do not have documentary character, but are, with each chosen shot, images in the proper artistic sense in which the movement of the body and the colour, the materiality of feathers and string have precisely the same aesthetic value as in other photographic concepts. Some of the structures of the props and the materials on the surface of the body are thus only within the specific expression in the medium of these photos. In the photographs, the expressiveness of the performance can be experienced just as well as for the live audience. At the same time, the medium generates a further, different aesthetic context.

Fire Ritual - Exhibition of photographic works by Siglinde KalInbach as part of the public event, Fire, 17 to 29 October 2000 at the Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland/Art Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany in Bonn

Fire Ritual - Photographic works and ashen torsos
photos courtesy Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn
Foto 3

Translated from the German by Dr. Michael Eldred, artefact text & translation, Cologne