In Jonas Baumann's A Touch of Vacuum, a loose series of short, digitally generated moving sculptures, set before neutral, indefinitely open visual spaces, moves past the viewer. One sees, for instance, a white cross, which is touched by a piece of cloth with a strictly geometric pattern of black and white cubes that then falls over it to the ground – and one thinks immediately of a mixture between Malevich, Suprematism and early Mondrian. A red ball springs to the right from a white platform and in its flight tosses a red cloth that glides down from above over the head and back of a black raven; here a comparison with Fischli & Weiss's Rube Goldberg-like chain reactions from their film Der Lauf der Dinge is not quite apt.
For each of the computer-generated moving sculptures, a variety of possible reference points from art history can be inferred as a kind of murmuring but indecipherable background noise, because no existing comparison leads to a further understanding of the characteristics of the pictorial worlds Baumann creates. Hence, in contrast to the artist's paintings and drawings, a new, genuine, computer-generated pictorial language seems to emerge from the murmurings of modern art history.
The objects and movements playfully explore the digitally won freedoms beyond the limits of gravity and materiality. The fabrics that are shown appear hyper-real, as an unnatural mixture of velvet and silk, leather and silicone. The liquid in a champagne glass seems solid, as in a still life by Lichtenstein or Rauschenberg, while solid tubes in a Dali-like slow motion seem almost to liquefy.
Paintings cross genres to meet and evolve into sculptures, which, for their part, could derive from paintings – as, for example, when a Delaunay canvas, in its warm, orange-red color segments, artfully wraps itself around a lopsided, constructivist cross. The connection with the cross, the non-referential pictorial space and the meticulously demonstrated gravitational force represented by the movements of the fabric over the solid body of the cross are part of a genuine, computer-generated pictorial language.
Baumann's hetero-referential objects fall through the virtual space and demonstrate their physicality, or the facets of their hyper-mediality, through their movement, in characteristics that are silent and soft and yet usually fall victim to gravity.
(Text: Bettina Back)