Crystal shade

2003, Ljubljana Castle – Pentagonal Tower, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Alenka Spacal

The essential connection of contemporary art with the advances of science has for decades been a key to understanding artistic practices which, through the use of the full spectrum of media/visual technologies, encroach on the field of the supposedly natural and, through simulation, expose it to an infinite number of reinterpretations. In the domain of fine art, such concepts also enter directly into the sphere of the observer’s view. Without the intervention of technology, the originality of organic matter would remain hidden. Images created in this way are, however, in no sense an imitation of ‘true’ nature. Rather, they are problematised conceptually in the artistic-technological process and transformed into a series of artefacts which thematically reach beyond organic forms. For this reason, the transformed natural motifs in the works of Ursula Berlot should not be subjected to an essentialist interpretation.

The entire installation of light objects is established in the gallery space according to a rigidly conceived formal scheme. An element of unplanned freedom is permitted by the existence of randomly created abstracted natural forms, almost cosmic patterns, which could otherwise be recognisable as fundamental elements of nature. The resulting decentred forms, which are gesturally applied to transparent Plexiglas pictures through the use of reduced artificial materials (for example synthetic resin) in a purified minimalist style, are also themselves transparently colourless. The only spots of colour come from the artificial light which radiates in the form of different sets of directed bundles of lights and paints new reflected images at the speed of light on selected screen-like surfaces (the gallery wall, the floor or other added white background). As well as the light-and-shade relationships between the material and the immaterial, the resulting optical images reveal, in their metamorphoses, completely different aspects of the dimensions of space and time. The artist attempts to problematise constantly changing natural processes through endless repetitions of mobile images by means of which she creates the new technological spaces of the optical field. In the dynamics of this process she attempts to go beyond the traditional dialectical relationships between material and immaterial, light and shade, change and permanency and transitoriness and eternity. In this way she places herself beyond all borders based on dualities. With her light objects, Ursula Berlot creates an illusory space which, as well as presenting experimental visual phenomena, is capable of setting more unusual perceptional challenges for the viewer in the sense of an individual understanding of time and space.