Visitation 13



I will say a few things now about Vadim Zakharov's and Niklas Nitschke's 13th visitation from the project OBAMAINBERLIN. I had a look at the other visitations, but I must admit, I did not study them in detail and my comments will not provide an interpretation immanent to the whole project. Rather it will be a reflection on this very particular visitation. My comment does not claim to be the only possible comment, rather in the opposite, it strictly reflects my personal view and knowledge. Also, I did not do any research specifically for this commentary, and I am using references here out of my memory.


Collective Actions have several Actions where, to use Zakharov's and Nitschke's terminology, the movement consists in burying something and leaving it behind. An electric bell or a clock would continue “working” long time after the viewers-participants and organisers have left the scene. This is, I thought, a very powerful idea. Collective Actions say: the Empty action continued working, or it is still working.

This made me think of Malevich's idea of the Suprematist art work, which in one of his texts, he compared to a satellite. This suprematist art work, one produced, would, as it were, work automatically. Like a satellite it would rotate around humanity and supply it with spiritual food without any extra work. An arty version of the perpetuum mobile.


This is the perspective that formed my view on the 13th visitation by Zakharov and Nitschke. It is very interesting this visitation, which culminates in the burying of a cuckuk clock, revolves around several references to Malevich and more specifically, to Suprematism!

Why is this interesting? I always thought that this idea that I had, about the relation between Actions where things were buried and Malevich's Suprematism was very far-fetched. It seems to me very strange but convincing at the same time. However, I could not make any good sense of it. But with the 13th visitation suddenly it became evident that I am not on my own. Which is a good feeling.

I will now quickly go though the references to Malevich and Suprematism. There is the first movement, where Nitschke is walking blindly through an empty winterly fruit plantation. (This is indeed very inspiring, to visit a winterly fruit plantation. You do not go there to do any work, nor are you there to enjoy the fruit. The purpose of your visit is art). Nitschke holds a black box in his hands, out of which he is gradually pulling a strip of film stills. The black box is not a black square, I realize, but it nonetheless represents a kind of endless source of culture.


The second movement, under the bridge, this time features a real black square, a print onto the white cube which serves Nitschke to produce black imprints on the bridge wall.


In the third movement the cutlery which is used by Zakharov and Nitschke to consume black speghetti is evidently made after Malevich. And another source of culture can be read as a representation of the black square, namely the Ipad. The film on the black square in quotation marks is very absorbing. In general, it can be said, that as one progresses it gets more and more intersting to follow the movements of the visitation.


Finally, in the last movement, the cuckuck clock is synchronised and put carefully into a black box. It is not clear why the artists chose the cuckucks clock and not something more contemporary, but in any case, perhaps this is a way of saying that time is now the most valuable cultural good. Now that Malevich has produced his Black Square, we do not have to do any more work, and in fact perhaps we should do something different with it. Perhaps time is the content of the black Square and we need to think about this.


In the meantime I realized that Obama visited Germany in 2013. And that Zakharov send me the link to the 13th visitation on the 13th of October!


© 2020 by OBAMAINBERLIN (Vadim Zakharov, Niklas Nitschke)