The point of departure for Jenni Tischer’s latest exhibition fortune at the Krobath Gallery was two different kinds of found objects: on the one hand, there are numerous vintage knitting needles, which the artist purchased at a warehouse sale and then turned each one of them into artfully knitted sculptures and wall objects. On the other hand, there are various wheel and rose church windows from across the world including Basel, Rome and New York, which served as models for a series of abstract ink drawings and glass objects. The latter is the continuation of the series Makings and Making – Code, which Tischer started to develop in 2012. Those works were abstract formations that she created by using odd ends of her other works’ production processes, arranging them on circular glass panes and fixing them with yarn.
In the works titled Decision Making presented in this exhibition, Tischer combines black looms of various sizes to form various “fabrics” which are reminiscent of the church window patterns. The yarn holds together the looms that, in turn, are “framed” by the glass pane. The result is a convolution of “image” and “frame”, of display and work of art, made with a technique similar to the knitting needle objects. So it’s not only the process of “making”, as the title suggests, and the decisions involved, that are, literally, “on display” here. But also the technique of hanging the art pieces is made visible: there is a small hole at the centre of the glass pane for the nail it is hanging on.
At the same time, the abstraction of the objects presented in this exhibition allows for a wide spectrum of interpretation. Some of the knitting needle objects are reminiscent of a cross or a nest, while the combination of different circular structures in the glass objects evoke associations with Marcel Duchamp’s rotating Rotoreliefs (1935) or Mandalas and wheels of fortune. Some of the wheel windows are direct references to the wheel of Fortuna or wheel of fate. While in the Middle Ages goddesses were in charge of bestowing good luck, in the digital age decisions can be left to an algorithm like the so-called “Decision Making Wheel”.
Therefore, Tischer doesn’t display the found objects just as “readymades” by turning mundane items into aesthetic objects. By “interweaving” the individual elements, she introduces a spiritual dimension that has often been repressed in Western cultures, thus extending the range of interpretation beyond the usual circulation of goods as well as beyond the status of each object.
Text: Fiona McGovern
Translation: Mandana Taban