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With the Letters of the Words "Injustice Cries Out"
Original title: Mit Buchstaben der Worte "Unrecht schreit"
1986
Corrugated cardboard, mirror and steel
Dimensions: 159 x 640 x 220 cm
Reference: ACF0346
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One of the constants in Harald Klingelhöller’s work is the balance he strikes between the visual and plastic seduction of his pieces, the complexity of decoding them, and the scope of their possible meanings. Playing with a series of elements, he constructs a referential framework made up of his own signs, which he has maintained without any significant changes throughout his development as an artist, and which he combines according to an equally personal syntax. Mit Buchstaben der Worte “Unrecht schreit” consists of twenty-eight elements made of stiff cardboard leaning at a slight angle against the wall of the exhibition room. Two of them are in contact with the wall; the others lean on one another, always at the same angle as the first two. The form of most of the pieces of cardboard (the ones on the left) is a horizontal axis from which eight vertical rectangular bars protrude. The elements on the right are made up of profiles with equal sections, though larger, and compose figures that recall letters. Resting on the upper part of both groups are pieces of mirror and steel, which are the same size as the face of the bar they are placed on. This piece may be the point of departure for a later work, Unrecht schreit (1987), which presents eight letters taken from the words that make up the title, piled up on the floor together with a circular form made with motifs similar to the abstract elements of the earlier work. Closer observation of Mit Buchstaben and its title reveals that we can indeed make out the letters Klingelhöller mentions. In this case there are four: e, n, i and c. The order in which we see them bears no relation to the word they are taken from and gives the impression that the arrangement could be altered without changing the ultimate meaning of the work. Klingelhöller has also played with the meaning of these words. The title of the work is a twist on the German expression schreiendes Unrecht, which may be translated as ‘blatant injustice’ and is used in cases when something is clearly inexcusable. The artist is able to achieve this thanks to the way the meaning of a German word can be transformed by changing its suffixes. It is this use of language and its expressive force that must be the starting point in any attempt to analyse the piece. The work pivots between intervention on the communication system and codes—perhaps the most immediate collective resource of definition available to human groups—and the effective alteration he makes to the forms of their signs. The absence of any referent in the sculpture that enables us to make out the letters allows him to put the viewer to the test. Anyone interpreting the piece is forced to use their ability to infer possible meanings. That intention is reinforced by some of the tools the artist uses. On the one hand, he employs abstract forms that have a distant link with reality. On the other, the use of the mirror invites us to think that any conclusion will be personal. Each glass surface multiplies possible analyses, because depending on our viewpoint we will see one reflection or another. There is no privileged vantage point for observation. As a whole, the piece experiments with our skill at interpretation and our willingness to go beyond what the statement of the work proposes.

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