Lukas Kindermann 172 cm by Philippe-Alain Michaud
172 cm, one of Lukas Kindermann's first pieces, in a sense marks his entry to the artistic scene. But this entry is made in the paradoxical mode of disappearance: dressed in a white sweater with a hood covering his head, the artist appears in the bottom left corner of the image and crosses an immaculate field of snow at a diagonal. Reaching the centre of the image, he digs a hole in which his body is progressively submerged. When he has disappeared entirely, that's to say, when the depth of the excavation corresponds exactly to his height, he leaves the spot along the diagonal by which he entered. During the performance, the snow falls in thicker and thicker flakes. The film, which lasts 20 minutes, is made in real time, fixed shot, and with live sound.
The field of snow overlays, in an isomorphic manner, the field of the image: this empty and immaculate expanse from which the body of the artist stands out imperceptibly like a stoat whose fur in winter, mimetically whitened, is the virgin surface on which the work of inscription is carried out. The expanse of snow is a neutral surface, a non-image, which is transformed progressively into a mound: horizontal becomes vertical; drawing, sculpture. Simultaneously, taking up the reflexive practices of post-minimal art which he anchors in a biographical and local context, the artist presents, in the form of a self-portrait, the transformation of the process of the figure's appearance into the process of its disappearance. The artist is submerged in the sheet of snow like an inversed Sisyphus: he does not ascend the mountain; he is submerged in it, transforming the horizontal plan into a negative of the vertical face. The film thus assumes, insensibly, a dimension funereal: it provides a ritual of effacement in which the artist presents his metamorphosis into a phantom, his disappearance into the whiteness of a surface in which nothing more will occur. And this disappearance is also the pure form the work takes, knowingly, in accordance with the scheme developed by Karl Marx in the first volume of Capital, as a consumption of force. But here it is a consumption without accumulation, except for this heap of snow, which bears witness like a burial mound to the disappearance of the subject whose traces the falling snow will finally efface, and in a phantasmagorical manner also to the constitution of value, whether the latter is understood in its mercantile or aesthetic sense.