In his essay Gegenkörper (counter body) philosopher Bjung Chul Han reflects on a poem by Peter Handtke: the slight pressure you need to open an old iron door makes you happy. You need to lean against an old door to open it. The electric door however does not make a stand against the human body, and within digital structures, resistance, the resistance of an object, even more the object itself, gets lost.
When I first saw Markus Schaller's sculptures, the way how he relies on the physis of objects caught my eye – I found this counter body in his sculptures and that’s what fascinated me about his work from the beginning on: he integrates the world’s gravity and the heaviness of the terrestrial structure – that’s why he shoulders heavy metal and he prefers pure materials – “or perhaps it derives from his desire to work with a material that offers him resistance“, the art historian Wieland Schmied writes about his intention.
Nowadays, in our time, the body and the objects disappear. The world is more and more represented through media. It might be a central aim of Markus Schaller to resist this process and therefore to create materializations and embodiments. Following Giorgio Agamben, the contemporary is part of both, our time and a different time. The contradictory of the contemporary is its untimeliness.
When I entered the old iron door to Markus Schaller’s studio, that is located in an early industrial area in Berlin, I discovered several quirky huge machines that have been used for metal fabrication in past times – a forge and a fire place, several hammers are hanging on the wall.
Markus Schaller is working on a new series of works in aluminum. By pressing precise geometrical form patterns into a two-dimensional aluminum plate, a three-dimensional plasticity unfolds – it unfolds as interaction of pressure and resistance. I am wondering if these patterns are shaped into the aluminum or lifted out of it. Within the bright light that falls through the large studio windows these universal astronomic structures originally mapped by Keppler appear as a revelation of an inner structure – like a higher resolution of an inner architecture, like a macroscopic excitement.
And – at the same time – the outer spatial surrounding is reflecting on the shiny aluminum screen. While I move in front of the work, light and space interfuse. The optical impression of these works is not just repetitive, it is a lively process, a projective expanse of internal and external patterns.