Light Within Things

Christoph Dahlhausen allows light and color to emerge from the objects themselves. Different colored lens filters are glued together in irregular clusters and hung on the wall at a distance of a few centimeters (Small Windows). Prefabricated scaffolding sections and blue 18-watt fluorescent tubes are connected into light drawings in a public space that, above all during the ‘blue hour’ before night descends, unfold their almost magical effect (Stabilizing Light). High-gloss car-paint-coated aluminum panels, otherwise found in aircraft construction, mirror the viewer and emit white light flashes from their honeycomb structure (Bodies).


Dahlhausen began as a painter but, from the start, was oriented toward the radical elementarization of the painting process. When he then discovered that the stretcher frame’s lower edge that radiated color light fascinated him more than the painting on the canvas itself, the path was open for his specific paintless exploration of painting’s fundamental tenets of color and light and their interaction with the surrounding space. Since then, Dahlhausen has exclusively used elements from the cool world of industrial-made, functionally connotated objects, widely deploying them as ready-mades so as to manifest his “unscientific evidence of light”, as he called a work group from 1996.

The fascination of this “less is more” strategy, purged of all artistic tall-tales and genius-mystification, consists in the fact that the objects, reduced to pure appearance, look completely transformed. The different-sized camera filters, in a loose, rhythmically and musically subdivided order, are arranged on a polished high-grade steel plate and hung horizontally on a wall (Filtered Light). Between their own coloring and that reflected on the wall, they evolve a highly complex interplay that links spatial materialization with ephemeral manifestation. And the white flashes from inside the car-paint-coated aluminum Bodies take their physicality a bit away in favor of a mottled immateriality that bathes the object. If you will: The birth of poetry from the spirit of Concrete and Constructivist Art. Whereby, in all his works, the artist does not operate as a demiurge, but as an arranger, a director, who alone by means of the situations and constellations that he fabricates, makes the unseen visible in the seen, and thus allows perception itself to repeatedly bring on new adventures.
Stephan Berg, January 2017
Into English by Jeanne Haunschild

© Esther Verhaeghe 2020
© Esther Verhaeghe 2020