Dieter Haist

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Iconography of Terror:  The Aerial Warfare in the Art


In an impressive laconic manner the visitor of the exhibition hall is being confronted with his own perception of his fellow men, whereby the reversal oft he perspective is to animate the viewer to cogitate about his relationship of seeing and to be seen.  By integrating the pictures on the ceiling into the exhibition: ‘Iconography of Terror: The Aerial Warfare in the Art” the dialectics of the individual perception is expanded by a significant dimension,the question of relationship between offender and victim:  Who is observing whom and is the danger coming from up above or from down below? The observer is forced to become involved in this circle of own perceptions and outside perceptions and is pushed to look at his own behavior as offender.

Prof. Dr. Hubertus Gassner                                                                                                                                                                                      The preliminary stage of this consternation was already expressed in the sixties as a phase of existential endangerment in pictures of the Spanish artist Juan Genoves. In his descriptions of the situation before the hit out of the angry sky, a force that remains unrecognized is targeting at the human race, subjects and objects of threat are both anonymous:  The human being in the cross hairs, helplessly exposed to the vertical danger from above,tracked and targeted in the view finder. All rescuing, running and escaping is useless, every attempt to get away must be to no avail in an area that does not offer any shelter.  The mass of people in panic is without a chance when the shadow of the bomber is coming over them. It is this common scheme that Dieter Haist wants to challenge with his installation on the ceiling “Enlightenment” (1993): The camera, a traditional instrument for observation, has recorded a vertical view onto a group of people. By installing a 6 x 6 m magnification on the ceiling of a room with the same dimensions and in the same distance that is equivalent to camera and object, the relationship between top and bottom, between offenders and victims, is reversing to an impression of an irritating absence of gravity. With the simple turn of the perception, the picture on the ceiling is demonstrating the problem of “opinionatedness” in the room.

Katalog "Die vertikale Gefahr. Luftkrieg in der Kunst", Dr. Harald Kimpel, Ausstellung in der documenta-Halle 1993   <<