Jumping at SMMOA

Hilmar Boehle: Jumping at SMMOA, 1989


... we see the verso of a coarse canvas streched on a wood frame, its front turned to the wall to reveal the imprints of a jump-rope. The canvas shows the de-painting of the black color by repeated lashes of the jump-rope, which remains fastened onto the painting as if frozen in movement. Here Boehle ironically alludes to California's outdoor-fitness cultur (SMMOA is, after all, only half-mile from Muscle Beach in Venice). Once again we try to reconstruct or visualize the implied action. What did it look like and who was jumping at SMMOA?

Boehle is clearly playing with the viewer's expectations and need to speculate. He explicitly displays the objects, but creates a subtile tension rooted within time. These are very clear and simple references, yet their artistic realization reveals a great sensitivity to material and creates a lively and subtle irony. His preference for integrating common objects into his installations results from a basic interest in forms from everyday life, objects that are familiar and interculturally decodeable. He does not leave them in the state of ready-mades, but imbets them into a context that alludes to their usage or reverses it. Whereas ready-mades passively reflect the circumstances of aura, Boehle actively reforms their context and meaning.

The art historical references are manifold. On the one hand, we are remindet of the relicts of the Happening and Fluxus era, and also of American action painting. On the other hand, the objects are freed from their otherwise banal existence, yet are not doomed to exist merely as documentation. in addition, the works have an implicitly metaphorical component, as in Curriculum vitae, which evokes the entire course of life and the cyclical process of creation and natural destruction. Our infantile desires to touch and play with these objects resurface, yet it is clear that the rope will never again be used for jumping, the bottle will never be smashed open and the pottery cannot betouched. These objects tantalize us, and as much as we would like to interact with them, or at least witness what happened or is yet to come, we know that this time we are excluded from the game.

Jeanette Kohl
Santa Monica Museum of Art
Los Angeles, September 1989


Hilmar Boehle: Jumping at SMMOA, 1989
Acryl auf Leinwand und Springseil
241 x 122 x 6 cm

Foto: David Familian, Santa Monica

ausgestellt in:
BONANGELES, Santa Monica Museum of Art (SMMOA), Los Angeles, September 1989

Sammlung IBM, Deutschland