With his KW Series, Matten Vogel has set himself an ambivalent task, which, for him, in his artistic debate, entails both martyrdom and redemption. The interruptions of everyday life had already found their way into his work in his Under Compulsion series (2006-2007). Unlike in the past, these interruptions have not ended his totally abandoning this work, they have evoked – not unlike a deviant reading – a different presentation within the work itself. The nature of the interruptions remains unclear and is, not unlike Andre Cadere’s Permutations, transferred encoded into the works. As in Under Compulsion, but in contrast to Cadere, Vogel does not hand us a key that would allow us to solve his riddle belatedly, after thorough examination. In a puzzling way, once we know how the artist depicts his daily life these works acquire a personal quality.
Last autumn, Matten Vogel set himself the goal of creating one work a week over a period of two years. To this end, he applied his own experimental procedure, which involved laying a grid of fine pencils on white-primed fibre board and filling the small squares with black circles. The forms themselves – a circle and a square – are the simplest of all geometrical figures, and are, so to speak, the ones and the zeros in his analogue cosmos. In his working rhythm, however, and during the course of the week, disturbances and interruptions, as well as minor and major distractions occur. They find expression in his works as imperfections: fields remain empty; dots slip out of their orbits; groups and small clusters form, disturbing the wandering eye. The irritation expedient in his work persists within the discerning viewer, too. Here, Matten Vogel follows traditional minimalist idea of radicalizing the aesthetics of perception. Consequently, it is not the individual artwork, but the viewer and the surroundings that are assigned the role of constituting the work. The eye automatically attempts to compensate for any interruptions and to resume the existing rhythm. If disturbances are slight, this procedure may succeed; but if they extend along a number of rows, the viewer will be confronted with a tangled knot, so to speak, which can only be undone by either looking away from the source of the disturbance, or by accepting it. At the same time, Vogel, through his choice of method, subscribes to a compositional idea that was rejected by the Minimalism of the 1960s. Perhaps it is, therefore, not so much a composition as a concept which finds expression in the KW series’ works.
Another aspect of his works reveals itself at a temporal level: the repetition of the process stands in marked contrast to the documentary aspect of his work, which is not immediately evident. Consequently, each work represents a week long time-capsule and is thus, in its serial formulation, also the expression of a dialectic of modernity, with its insistence on the autonomy of a work. The temporal fixation of the works finds its immediate echo in the exhibition, since Matten Vogel leaves some spaces empty: these are then filled, little by little – calendar week for calendar week – during the course of the exhibition.