The German curator Johannes Kögler wrote about ‘Friction’ in 1997: “In the series ‘Friction’ a set of nine base modules is used as a matrix for vertical and horizontal repetition across entire wall spaces, within the confines of the specific site; in principle such repetition can be potentially infinite, if not in the actual space, then in the mind of the viewer. While a close-up view reveals the actual structure of the 9 digital modules, completely new rhythms and patterns emerge once the piece is viewed from the distance (…) as a vibrating perceptive field.(…) The artist makes deliberate use of the near endless creative possibilities of digital art, while placing his practice within the technical and conceptual framework of painting, printmaking, and minimal art.”
Since the 1990s about a dozen or so versions of ‘Friction’ have been shown in Europe and the US. While based on a set ‘code’ of elements, the project morphs, evolves, and changes with each of its iterations.
Friedhard Kiekeben developed a new site-specific version of his project series ‘Friction’ to suit the requirements of ‘TechnoMEME’ and the unique location at the Cultural Arts Center in Columbus. The gallery space is permeated by an array of 16 cast iron columns that are a core support structure of the building. 13 of these pillars were selected to be wrapped with images based on one out of a set of 13 base elements, which in their repetition form a complex perceptual experience for the viewers. All pillars have three basic bands, alternating from yellow at the base to white in the centre, and yellow at the top, and reaching an overall height of 101 inches each.
Through this process each pillar was given a different character, responding to the overall structure of the space as a whole, as well as to the unique location of each, in relation the whole, and to other artworks installed in the show. Color, shape, rythm, light and dark, alternate from black to grey to yellow and white, and from muted to dramatic digital shapes, like a musical score.
About the Artist
Friedhard Kiekeben (* 1963 in Bad Nauheim) lives and works in Chicago, Illinois, USA. He is a freelance artist there and has held a professorship for printmaking at Columbia College Chicago since 2006.
“Kiekeben works with computer-generated modules that are put together in a row to form endless patterns. These are transferred to metal plates, which in turn serve as printing plates for etchings. Kiekeben plays with the combination of positive-negative images (printing plate and etchings are used as a Object presented) and with the combination of the most modern technology and conventional etching as ‘handicraft’.
“The prints show previously unseen matrices, which operate an engaging interplay of the few elements in various works and series. The area of electronic image processing and the corresponding aesthetics are always accessible for perception. … Out of the multitude of the same In this process of individuation everything arose, a basic philosophical idea that is reminiscent of Leibniz and his ‘monadology’.