Johannes Lothar Schröder
Image writing and body signs
to the exhibition "Gesprächsfessel" (conversation shackle)
by Bärbel Bahlke-Meisel

1. At another place

One gets to another environment, enters a room or a vehicle, and the thoughts one had before are gone all of a sudden. The connection between environment and thought world has snatched. The threads have to be gathered anew.

This is frightening. But maybe it is also wonderful that it is possible to open up to an unknown environment. It can be liberating to let go of the thoughts that tied us up and to cede oneself to a situation that makes it necessary to open up a new thought package. It can also happen that the old thoughts report back in a more current version and proof themselves to be useful.

Transferred to the course of times this would mean that cyles lead to changes to which our symbols and reference systems adjust. The language that was effective once does no longer suffice to changed conditions. Those ask for presentations that allow to understand what was unknown so far. Even when the old proves itself in the new context it will only be kept if its timeliness is discovered anew.

We live in constant change and the written and image languages follow. BŠrbel Bahlke-Meisel has developed her own methods about that.

2. Between written and image language

The here shown prints and installations are a part of the work of bbm that did not evolve without precondtion. The artist draws from an inventory of images and signs gathered over years and ordered encyclopedically.

There functionally different things are collected depending on their formal likenesses. Amongst them there are various shapes based on a cone of which the tip has been cut off.

This shape assimilates  things like:
-    skirt
-    plantpot
-    beaker
-    showerhead
-    muzzle
-    crinoline
-    fish trap
Zeichnung Schroeder

These things are associatively developed from image to image so that a chain of continuous modifications forms, colors included also. The holes of a showerhead become red spots so that they represent the picture of a bunch of red roses in a vase so high that the rose heads are distributed as color spots on the level of the upper vase edge.

The painting from which motif for poster and invitation card evolves consists of elements of this repertoire: out of the water hole of a plant pot comes a red-white 'cordon ribbon' that widens out downwards in ever larger spirals thus repeating the cylindrical shape. Because of the 5 extensions that can be seen as 'fingers' spontously we as onloookers  are likely capable to interpret the circular arcs in the upper part of the painting as 'arms'. Their position leaves the imagination that they are resting spread and lightly floating on a crinoline. Sort of like that the impression of a figure completes itself. The head is added by a colored ribbon coming up starting from the 'arms' via the shoulders and placing itself halfway around the 'plant pot'.

A handling with colors and shapes that encourages these associations creates the rough material of combinatorics that generates endless figures and stories by shifting and linking signs and things.  These shapes and stories form elements of an own language with a grammar that is given by our ability to perceive, inter- pret and recognize shapes.  Two of such chain-linkings of things and signs woven into stories Bahlke-Meisel assembled in a booklet as "
Die Gartendusche" (the garden shower) and "Die bulgarische Blumenhändlerin" (the Bulgarian flower saleswoman) and it speaks for the surrealistic roots of her work that 'Die Schöne Gärtnerin" (the beautiful gardener) not only hints to a title of a painting by Max Ernst.
Bärbel Bahlke-Meisel: Conversation Shackle 2008 (Installation)