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Royal Road

1993 Karlsruhe, Germany

This work is an adaptation of an installation made in 1986 at the Vleeshal in Middelburg, Netherlands, titled Going to the Heart of the Center of the Garden of Delights.

This work dramatises one of the paradigmatic modalities of an interactive artwork, which is the notion of the viewer as traveller who enters and explores a virtual space of stored audiovisual information. The Royal Road makes this metaphor of the journey explicit, because the viewer actually walks towards and into the artwork to cause its narrative development.

As the viewer walks towards a large back-projection video console, it appears as if the viewer were entering and passing through a row of virtual video consoles. The installation uses a laser distance sensor to detect the exact position of the viewer. The image sequence is calibrated to change one frame each centimetre as the viewer moves forwards or backwards in front of the screen. The entire image sequence (1,000 frames) plays out over a distance of 10 metres, and blue lights on the floor indicate the positions of the work’s seven main iconographic transformations.

This seven-stage sequence of digitally processed images was derived from art works by Yves Klein’s Portrait of Arman (1962), Nagisa Oshima’s In the Realm of the Senses (1976) and Hieronymus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights, (circa 1500). The sequence begins with a collage of the Yves Klein sculpture, which has been conjugated with a single frame from King Kong (1933), so that the International Klein Blue figure of Arman appears to be holding the fainting heroine Anne Darrow in his arms. This is followed by a single frame of the strangulation scene in Oshima's film. The six interactive transformations that follow show a progressive digitisation of the Oshima image into an increasingly abstract arrangement of larger and larger pixels. Within these pixel blocks the Bosch painting gradually emerges, until it entirely fills the screen in the final image.

The architectonic presence of this narrative unfolds in the body action of the viewer. And the sequence reverses when the viewer walks away from the screen. This convergence of esoteric, corporal and aesthetic forces becomes relational to the conjunction of sacred, profane and carnal allusions presented in the work's iconographic progression. The Klein collage intimates an inversion of the archetype of Mary holding Christ’s limp body, which then morphs into Oshima’s cruciform organisation of male and female bodies, whose underlying digital formation then recalibrates itself in Bosch’s esoteric corporeality.

Exhibition Record

1993/11/5 - 11/13:  MultiMediale 3, ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany

1994/11/19 - 1995/1/8:  Video-Skulptur in Deutschland 1963-1993, Kunsthalle, Rostock, Germany

1995/2/16 - 3/15:  Video-Skulptur in Deutschland 1963-1993, Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong, China

1995/9/2 - 10/14:  Video-Skulptur in Deutschland 1963-1993, Centrum Beeldende Kunst, Groningen, Netherlands

1995/11/4 - 12/3:  Video-Skulptur in Deutschland 1963-1993, World Wide Video Center, Den Haag, Netherlands

1996/1/20 - 3/17:  Video-Skulptur in Deutschland 1963-1993, Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, Gent, Belgium

1996/5/24 - 6/25:  Video-Skulptur in Deutschland 1963-1993, Círculo de Bellas Artes, Madrid, Spain

1996/12/16 - 1997/1/12:  Video-Skulptur in Deutschland 1963-1993, Galeria Zachęta, Warsaw, Poland

1997/3/15 - 5/18:  Video-Skulptur in Deutschland 1963-1993, Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan

1997/6/20 - 7/6:  Video-Skulptur in Deutschland 1963-1993, Singapore Arts Museum, Singapore, Singapore

1997/9/13 - 10/7:  Video-Skulptur in Deutschland 1963-1993, Seoul Arts Center Museum, Seoul, Korea

1997/10/16 - 11/8:  Video-Skulptur in Deutschland 1963-1993, Hanrim Museum, Daejeon, Korea

1998/1/27 - 2/27:  Video-Skulptur in Deutschland 1963-1993, Fondazione Mudima, Milan, Italy

1998/5/8 - 5/30:  Video-Skulptur in Deutschland 1963-1993, Centro de Cultura Opera Paese, Rome, Italy

1998/6/15 - 12/31:  Video-Skulptur in Deutschland 1963-1993, Einlagerung, Köln, Germany

1999/2/1 - 2/23:  Video-Skulptur in Deutschland 1963-1993, Ankara State Gallery, Ankara, Turkey

1999/3/10 - 4/10:  Video-Skulptur in Deutschland 1963-1993, Atatürk Cultural Center, Istanbul, Turkey

1999/10/11 - 11/21:  Video-Skulptur in Deutschland 1963-1993, Arts Academy, Athens, Greece

2000/3/6 - 3/16:  Video-Skulptur in Deutschland 1963-1993, Tretyakov State Gallery, Moscow, Russia

2000/6/19 - 7/12:  Video-Skulptur in Deutschland 1963-1993, Manege, St. Petersburg, Russia

2000/9/9 - 10/6:  Video-Skulptur in Deutschland 1963-1993, Soros Center for Contemporary Art, Kiev, Ukraine

2001/2/1 - 3/18:  Video-Skulptur in Deutschland 1963-1993, Instituto Cultural Cabañas, Guadalajara, Mexico

2001/4/4 - 6/17:  Video-Skulptur in Deutschland 1963-1993, Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil, Mexico City, Mexico

2001/9/20 - 12/15:  Video-Skulptur in Deutschland 1963-1993, Museum for Audiovisual Art - Museo Alejandro Otero, Caracas, Venezuela

2002/1/30 - 4/15:  Video-Skulptur in Deutschland 1963-1993, Biblioteca Luis Ángel Arango, Bogotá, Colombia

2002/6/19 - 7/31:  Video-Skulptur in Deutschland 1963-1993, Museo de la Ciudad, Quito, Ecuador

2002/11/6 - 11/30:  Video-Skulptur in Deutschland 1963-1993, Museo Nacional de Arte, La Paz, Bolivia

2003/2/12 - 3/23:  Video-Skulptur in Deutschland 1963-1993, Museo de Arte, Lima, Peru

2003/6/16 - 7/20:  Video-Skulptur in Deutschland 1963-1993, Paço das Artes, São Paulo, Brazil

2003/9/5 - 10/27:  Video-Skulptur in Deutschland 1963-1993, Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina

2004/5/29 - 8/1:  Video-Skulptur in Deutschland 1963-1993, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Dunedin, New Zealand

2004/10/10 - 10/27:  Video-Skulptur in Deutschland 1963-1993, National Gallery, Bangkok, Thailand

2004/12/7 - 2005/1/28:  Video-Skulptur in Deutschland 1963-1993, Chiang Mai Art Museum, Chiang Mai, Thailand

2005/6/7 - 6/30:  Video-Skulptur in Deutschland 1963-1993, Aula Barat, Institute of Technology Bandung, Bandung, Indonesia

2005/11/12 - 11/27:  Video-Skulptur in Deutschland 1963-1993, Apeejay Media Gallery, New Delhi, India

2005/12/12 - 12/25:  Video-Skulptur in Deutschland 1963-1993, National Gallery of Modern Art, Bombay, India

2006/3/19 - 4/21:  Video-Skulptur in Deutschland 1963-1993, Centre of International Modern Art, Calcutta, India

2006/7/1 - 7/16:  Video-Skulptur in Deutschland 1963-1993, College of Fine Arts, Bangalore, India