Markus Schaller lives and works in Berlin. Since 1993 he has presented his works to the public internationally in galleries, museums and biennials. In his work he contrasts the immense power of forging and forming steel objects with the intimate practice of embossing. The surface of his large, forged sculptures often conceals filigree poems and work-specific texts that are embossed by hand letter by letter. In his more recent works he leaves his characteristic style to create three-dimensional wall objects from embossed aluminium. These handmade works are still minimalist, but have a sense of complexity and balance that sets them apart from his earlier works. The kaleidoscopic structure on the metal is sharply symmetrical, with angled sections that reflect the light. These geometric markings serve as a starting point for a dialogue about basic forms in nature.


In the video work "Aktom", shown here for the first time, Schaller raises the question of a "pre-existence" of basic forms. In its forge, the iron is heated in the hard coal that is annealed by an air blower. Heat causes the atoms of the iron-carbon compound of the inserted steel to move and change its physical state. In this process, quantities of organic material are vaporized to smoke and inorganic material is whirled through the air as dust. Aktom" films a similar experimental set-up with high-resolution video images. Graphite powder, carbon in its pure form, is whirled through the air by the blower of the forge. The hexagonal crystal system of graphite reflects in the light and becomes visible. Carbon swirls around like "cosmic dust", creating images that arise from the viewer's imagination and thus become a creative handwriting.


In his work "Permenides", Martin Heidegger speaks of the fact that the handwriting, the "writing hand", communicates with being. It is a reading hand that reveals meaning and truth through communication with the hidden, closed earth.

This "closedness" is diametrically opposed to the "transparency" of the digital medium, whose pace is to make all information accessible to everyone (Byung-Chul Han).  The typewriter, in which only the fingertips are used, is a first witness of the transformation of the relationship of being to the essence of man: From the subject to the terran order to the digital project designing itself. (Flusser) The typewriter "hides the essence of the hand" (Heidegger). The "digital breaks down the real and totalizes the imaginary". It is characterized by a permanent presence and presence: Different conditions of the same." (Byung-Chul Han)


According to Flusser, digital has turned us into projects of alternative worlds. He founded a new anthropology that sees "only dust in man". All fixed values dissolve in the digital point universe. We are merely "digital compilations of buzzing point possibilities" and finally leave the terrestrial order in the course of the "iconic turn". The digital medium resembles a sea "into which "no fixed lines can be buried". It is an "operation without character, impressing in its original meaning the Greek word "diarassein", which means carving". It's a transparent void.


Here the circle closes to the video work "Aktom" by Markus Schaller. The graphite swirled up from the constellation of the forge fire is reflected in the most diverse facets and colours. Strange connections of reciprocal influence can be assumed. No two formations are the same. Their origin disappears in the artificially slowed movement. Every event arises in the moment that connects with its origin. A possible meaning of the pictures can only be created by our own attention and imagination. "Actomes are "nuclear decisions" that are constructing new truths right now. This reminds us that it is only we who are directly responsible for what reality we create in the game with others.


Berlin 2018