Questions of Survival, Nira Pereg
In 2006 Kindermann re-looked part of his own natural landscape, the Alps in southern Germany. This look had in it a unique mix of separation and discovery, as he chose to look a simple woodshed, typical of the region. But what he actually showed us was himself looking at the woodshed. He examined it from all sides, as if it were a meteorite just landed from outer space. He moved around it, walking slowly and systematically, thoughtfully covering all four sides. Although his gaze was not sentimental, one can see that it did not lack emotion. His steps made one pace around as well, adding a third level to the gaze as the viewer’s motions synchronised with his.
Filmed from its four sides and projected on an open cube, as if the actual woodshed is resurrected by the artist, who in-return passes through it like a ghost. Woodshed was the first in a series of pensive existential works performed by Kindermann, questioning both himself as “artist” and the act of making art.
Maintaining a semi-scientific posture, Kindermann challenges the laws of gravity by constructing a tent at the base of a full swimming pool. As in Woodshed, the scene is empty and still, until he enters and activates the stage, turning the water into air and the domesticated pool into the wild outdoors. It takes him 13 minutes to set up the tent, repeatedly coming up for air, and eventually closing himself inside. In these last minutes, the challenge is turned into a somber act of self-annihilation.
In 172 cm, Kindermann performs another small death, entering a white, stormy, snowy landscape and digging a hole in the depth of his own height. After 20 minutes, his vertical grave is ready, hiding him completely leaving us again with the blank page.
This set-up recurs in Raised blind. A construction of neon tube, displaying the numbers nine to zero, is parasitically attached to a traditional hunting hut. This time the empty stage is activated by an elegant but destructive countdown from 9 to 0, exposing the true nature of the otherwise peaceful landscape. It takes three minutes for all the numbers to light up till the 0 appears. It then disappears in second, so as in previous works, the climax is reached and passed without real consequences.
In his latest work, fragments of the universe, Kindermann is absent, replaced by three meteorites rotating in front of a fixed camera. Referring to them with adoration, calling them “perfect sculptures” Kindermann uses video to animate the meteorites in a constant falling/floating stage. We get to see and adore them as well, but in effect, the meteorites are permanently stuck—on their way to land on earth, but never reaching it…
Kindermann is not afraid of futile effort. Although it can take a lot of emotional effort to dig your own grave, Kindermann takes it on almost indifferently, like one takes on a job that needs to be done. His deep obligation is heightened by his insistence on showing us the full act in real time. The narrative of the countdown repeats in many of his works, as we watch and wait for him to finish the job he set out to do. By the time the 0 appears, the starting frame is slowly transformed into a fragile composition. The act of penetrating the image is almost symmetrically balanced (or punished) by his own disappearance. His work often takes on a dialectical format, presenting the option that the final goal never reaches a climax, but instead is hidden, buried, closed, and then resurrected and performed all over again.