Die Forelle [The trout]


2 synchronised videos (7:45’) with sound, played in 2 cubic monitors playced side by side

[Realization in collaboration with: videocompany.ch and kunstbetrieb.ch]

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«Die Forelle» [The trout] is a synchronised video installation consisting of two cubic monitors that have been placed next to each other on plinths; each shows a separate video. The one screen shows a life-size, full-face portrait of the artist posed before a light background. The other screen shows a trout, also life-size, that is swimming in front of an identical background. In the course of the video, the trout is deprived of its water, while the woman in the other video is submerged under water. Each image is cropped in such a way that the containers as well as the sources of the water remain unseen. Under these reductive experimental conditions, the habitats of human being and fish are exchanged and their subsequent reactions are exposed to view.

The first video begins with the bust-image of the artist; she breathes calmly and gazes almost motionlessly at the viewer. Suddenly the sound of water is heard; shortly thereafter, it makes its way into the bottom of the imaged space and gradually rises. The monitor thus suggests a container, an aquarium that is being filled. As soon as the water has reached the level of the young woman’s mouth, she begins to drink it. However, she is soon unable to make any more gains against the steadily rising water and is forced to hold her breath. She patiently and motionlessly waits in the water, while her gaze seems strangely absent. In the meantime, the water reaches the upper edge of the image and begins to fall again; when her nose and then her mouth finally re-emerge, she immediately begins to breathlessly gasp for air. The water continues to drain off until it has completely disappeared from the cube.

At the beginning of the second video, a trout swims about in the water without ever leaving the space defined by the monitor. Thus, the illusion of the monitor as container is created here as well. The water level gradually sinks – synchronised with the rising of the water in the first video. The fish has less and less water in which to swim and its freedom of movement becomes more and more restricted, until it is left on dry ground for a brief moment. It flops around in the empty container while the woman on the other monitor holds her breath under water. For a fraction of a second, the trout lies there motionlessly – as though dead – until the water begins to rise again, after which it falteringly renews its swimming motions. Shortly afterwards, the artist in the adjacent monitor begins to breathe again as the water level sinks.

(extract from: Johanne Mohs, exhibition text for «Die Forelle» [The trout], Galerie Gisèle Linder)


«Die Forelle» ist eine synchronisierte Videoinstallation aus zwei kubischen, nebeneinander auf Sockel stehenden Monitoren, auf denen je ein Video gezeigt wird. Auf dem einen Bildschirm ist mein frontal ausgerichtetes Portrait in Lebensgrösse vor weissem Hintergrund zu sehen. Der andere Bildschirm zeigt eine ebenfalls lebensgrosse Forelle, die vor identischem Hintergrund im Wasser schwimmt. Im Verlauf des Videos wird der Forelle das Wasser entzogen, während ich auf dem anderen Video mit Wasser überflutet werde. Der Fisch hat immer weniger Wasser um zu schwimmen, sein Bewegungsraum wird immer knapper, bis er sich für einen kurzen Moment im Trockenen befindet. Er zappelt auf dem Grund des entleerten Beckens, während ich auf dem anderen Monitor unter Wasser den Atem anhalte. Nachdem das Wasser den oberen Bildrand erreicht hat, fängt es wieder an zu sinken, während der entleerte Monitor mit der Forelle sich wieder füllt. Ich schnappe nach Luft und die Forelle nimmt ihre Schwimmbewegung wieder auf.

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installation view

Galerie Gisèle Linder - installation view