Homepage Brigitte Dams
Leider unterstützt Ihr Browser keine Stylesheets. Das Design kann leider nicht richtig dargestellt werden.



Patricia Briggs

Beyond the Visible

A recent visit to Düsseldorf brought me to the studio of Brigitte Dams. There my eyes were drawn to a dark structure clinging to the ceiling of the studio. Black against the white interior, it was a kind of netting, transparent and empty of anything but air and light, and measuring four by five feet in dimension and about two feet deep. Like so much of Dams’ work, it was organic in character, resembling an insect’s web or dwelling, and woven from cast-off, banal materials. Here Dams used the flexible black rubber of bicycle wheel inner tubes. With its home up high on the ceiling, this sculpture reoriented my land-bound perspective, my habitual point-of-view on the world.


It is difficult to know whether the absence suggested by Dams’ sculpture represents the mourning of a loss, or rather the desire for this lack to be filled. These concerns re-orienting the viewer’s point of view and the play of presence and absence are carried through in Dams’ KunstDoc Gallery exhibition works, where strips of black tape are woven into hollow structures which hang limply from the walls, and where by activating the floor of the gallery with lines and transparent structures Dams orients the viewer so that he or she is above and inside of the work.


Piles of the most unlikely materials fill Dams’ studio: selections of tape in different colors and widths, thick industrial-strength bands of black rubber, lengths of bright yellow straps that bicyclists wear to caution motorists to slow down, and discarded fire hoses coiled into thick rolls. With their connotation of emergency and trauma, the fire hoses and caution strips paradoxically serve positive functions in Dams’ sculpture, where their role is to shelter and to construct. For example, they are woven into coverings for books whose secret titles remain hidden from the viewer’s sight, or they are woven into mysterious bundles or packages never meant to be opened. Dams weaves lengths of hose into panels which hang on the walls and which at times jut out into the space of the room.


Adapting this strategy in the installation Determination, Dams uses lengths of tape to weave dynamic grids on the surfaces of the gallery walls, which often liberate themselves from these two-dimensional surfaces by cutting across the interior space of the room and creating sculptural three-dimensional lines and grids. Shifting her attention from the issue of the visibility of objects to that of the invisibility of space Dams deconstructs the notion of a room’s interior as a container of bodies and objects. Metaphorically fracturing the walls and integrating them into the space of the room, she re-conceptualizes space as a dynamic and integrative field or matrix and challenges received notions of the distinction between human subjects, objects, and spatial separation.


More personal in nature are the artist’s understated drawings with collage. The process of making these intimate pieces central to Dams’ process of responding to or feeling her surroundings, specifically in the case of this installation, began in the series of collages on view in the exhibition space. Here, torn scraps of paper, bits of tape, and small pieces of cardboard take on poetic resonances as they float across the page, at times covering over the artist’s abstract architectonic script. In hundreds of sensations, carefully considered and memorialized in the pages of Dams’ drawings, one senses a world perceived not only visually, but as well by the ears and by the sense of touch.