Time and again, it proves both productive and exciting when contemporary artists perceive the examination of the collection of a museum as inspiration that enables them to enrich their own language and develop concrete occasions for articulation. This practice of artistic intervention is a long-standing tradition at Museum Kurhaus Kleve, where new observations on existing works are just as possible as surprising contextualizations of the unknown. In this respect it was a pleasure in many ways to be actively involved in the 25x25x25 initiative of the Kunststiftung NRW (art foundation NRW), which succeeded in bringing together a selection of 25 artistic positions with 25 municipal museums in the state of NRW on the occasion of the foundation's 25th anniversary.

In our case it was artist Tara Mahapatra, currently living in Berlin and New York, who, determined and with a thirst for discovery, ventured out into the collection's thicket of references between late Gothic sculpture and recent art production and also examined its singular entanglement with architecture and the surrounding parklands. From the outset, however, she was focused on the work and influence of Joseph Beuys, who, as is generally known, had his studio in the ground floor right wing from 1957 to 1964, where he laid important foundations for the Expanded Concept of Art that would later prove so consequential. His aura, his far-reaching conceptual spaces, and his cerebral energy are still inscribed on the place as on a palimpsest, and they ignited a creative spark in Tara Mahapatra. Through the four Projekt Westmensch sketchbooks, kept in the nearby Moyland Castle, in which Beuys sketched down emerging systems of ideas, the artist encountered the central concepts of metamorphosis and transformation, which have also always influenced the structure of her work, and experienced new impulses with regard to content. In extensive series of black-and-white drawings, she then circled the processes of mutability of mind and matter, of sensation and physical description, of individual experience and universal phenomenology. In a further step she expanded her medium from drawing to film and completed the final part of her Dream Sequence Trilogy, whose title In the Dark of Light serves as the overarching theme of her exhibition at the Museum Kurhaus Kleve. p { text-indent: 5em; background: powderblue; } This exhibition is implemented in two large adjacent rooms through a triad of moving sequences using DVD and slide projection, an extensive series of ink drawings, and texts written directly on the wall. This overall design makes it clear, on the one hand, that all works by Tara Mahapatra owe their existence to a high degree of theoretical reflection. Even though the curves and textures of the drawings are reminiscent of Art Informel at first glance, they are based on rather different intentions, for example the concepts of circulation of intensities pursued by the postmodern philosophers Deleuze and Guattari. Thinking at different levels of self- and external perception in this context finds a possible manifestation in the cycle of expanding and contracting, of opening and encapsulation. On the other hand, and this is particularly noticeable in the films, the artist nonetheless trusts in the power of poetic images. In slow shots, structured by handwritten tablets and meditative sequences, the boundaries of objects and states dissolve flittingly and magically draw the viewer into an infinite maelstrom of waves, stars, and light reflections. The separation into subject and outside world is suspended; everything circulates in a continuous act of shape-shifting: Then there were no Boundaries.

This feeling of the dissolution of boundaries could only be made a reality in the exhibition space as a result of the dedicated, professional input of all participants. First of all, our heartfelt thanks goes out to the artist herself, who pursued the project with great enthusiasm, patience, and determination through all phases of its implementation. On the part of the Kunststiftung NRW (art foundation NRW), we would like to thank in particular project manager Barbara Könches and curator Stephanie Seidel, whose initiative and meticulous support made the entire project possible. At the Museum Kurhaus Kleve, scientific assistant Valentina Vlasic offered outstanding, expert support with all aspects of planning and implementation. We would also like to express our gratitude to the team of technicians headed by Wilhelm Dückerhoff and Norbert van Appeldorn as well as those at the logistical headquarters at the secretariat of Hiltrud Gorissen-Peters. After the exhibition, the works of Tara Mahapatra will largely remain in the museum's collection as a gift, and along with our thanks for this generous donation, we would also like to express our confidence that visitors to the Museum Kurhaus Kleve will be able to observe the inherent impulse of these works with regard to the constant changeability of states and conditions for a long time to come.

Published in the Art Catalog:

Tara Mahapatra: In the Dark of Light
Texts by John Fray, Harald Kunde and Tara Mahapatra
Graphic Design by Christoph Stolberg
2014. 88 pp.,hardcover
24.60 x 32.70 cm / ISBN 978-3-934935-70-9