Pater noster – Unfolding
Ingrid Gaier enters. The scenario: a large-format textile paper divided into ten elements, marked by round yellow surfaces with numbers, flesh-tone handprints in spherical form and an intricate graphic pattern consisting of gray squares underlying the ornament in a sort of grid. While the yellow digits number the sheets making up the object, the flesh-tone circular surfaces function as a reference to another work by Ingrid Gaier – Trimmed Up – in which printed spherical objects, here quoted in two dimensions, are the protagonists of a staged scene controlled from above.
In a series of seven objects, Ingrid Gaier creates snapshots of her vertical traversal of the picture surface. The artist, in photorealistic black-and-white prints, moves up a ladder from the picture’s bottom to its top. In the first scene one sees only her raised arm and her face cut off at her decisively pursed lips; by the fourth scene Ingrid Gaier has grown out of nothing to the full extent of her body, from her hands to her bare feet. There is an unmistakable irony in the hanging body’s reference to the Crucifixion, but not in a religious context, rather as a formal allusion. In scenes five to seven the artist leaves the picture surface again, and with her the ladder.
The choreography of a figure’s entrance and exit, which through its two-dimensionality and the transparency of the depiction itself becomes an ornament, is staged with laconic body language. Neither facial expression nor gesture are subject to even the smallest alteration. Conforming with its inner impulse, the figure moves across pieces of printed cotton paper consisting of combined smaller segments, whereby the large surfaces can be folded along seams joined by adhesive fabric tape and placed in a special box that has been created as part of the artwork. Even though the paper, the surface upon which the moving body is rendered, can be unfolded, the figure never leaves the ladder with which it seems to meld. The possibility of folding and unfolding the work is strictly governed by the horizontality of the ladder’s rungs, within which the figure is frozen motionless, in a manner that differs greatly from conventional cinematographic images.
The climb to the upper edge of the picture space and beyond it is depicted in a motion sequence that stylizes the natural movement of advancing from rung to rung. What is it, however, that moves Ingrid Gaier through the seven stages of her ascent: An invisible hand, which pushes the stencil prints of a hanging female body across the picture surface? A mechanical propulsion device, an escalator up through a picture? Or is it, after all, the strength of the artist’s muscles?
In the seventh book of his Physics, Aristotle turns his attention to natural motion, and to the question of a kinematic law: the independence of a body is nevertheless unlimited, because something always moves it and keeps it in motion.
Ingrid Gaier’s body enters into a symbiosis with the pattern created by the rungs of the ladder. In remaining frozen in a single position in the grid, she parodies and at the same time exaggerates her own vis motrix: an unshakeable love of the ornament.
Theresia Hauenfels, 2005