There are numerous myths in which a hero must undergo a so-called “Nachtmeerfahrt” (night sea voyage) where he encounters mysterious creatures and dangerous situations.
The psychologist Carl Gustav Jung himself undertook such night expeditions on the water. C. G. Jung was an avid sailor, yet not for the competitive element of the endeavor but rather to experience the elements in a meditative state. Homer’s “The Odyssey” served as an inspiration on one of these multiple-night trips on Lake Zurich where Homer’s ogres, demons, and the Hades made appearances in the natural setting of the dark lake. C. G. Jung called these excursions “Nachtmeerfahrten”.
For C. G. Jung, a journey (“Reise” in German) is an immersion into the unconscious, a descent into a world beyond consciousness, filled with dreams and archetypes. Nowadays modern interpretation of the word journey means the movement of a person towards a destination or to visit a couple of places. The word “Reise” has been known since the 9th century. The connotation of the Old High German word “reisa” was “Aufbruch, Zug, Fahrt” and described the act of departure.
The origin of the word suggests that departure, detachment, and parting from a certain place are at the core of the word, not the arrival at a certain destination. Therefore, the journey can be the reward. In a society that fosters voluntary and constant exploitation through self-optimization, the act of detachment and departure can lead to personal freedom. Self-optimization can create exhaustion and a loss of reality – a journey could lead to loneliness, but also to deceleration.
With this objective in mind, the artist Timo Klöppel embarked the sailboat “Tres Hombres” in mid November of 2014.
In his current exhibition, Timo Klöppel displays the most important and unique experiences of his journey: crossing the Atlantic in 13 days from Cape Verde to Saint Lucia in the Caribbean. He had already rehearsed and prepared for this adventure in 2012 with his exhibition “Licht ist in der Kleinsten Huette”: he created a special space (a room in a room) by covering his artist’s studio with opal glass panes on the walls and black gravel on the floor. Detached from his environment, he isolated himself in this retreat for two weeks in order to write and to think. Klöppel’s following exhibition “Lateinisches Land” (KWADRAT Art Gallery, Berlin) and the artwork “Meer Licht” displayed at Art Contemporary Berlin 2013 had the same main topos.
It was the seclusion from the mundane, the constant search for balance, and the constant motion aboard a sail boat that left big impressions on Klöppel – not the experience of vastness that he had anticipated. It is the sensation of powerlessness towards the seemingly infinite depth of the ocean when crossing over it in a nutshell. It is the brute force of a storm that leaves a person feeling light and weightless, wishing to surrender to its power. Everything surrounding him is undiscovered, new, and seductive. Every day, the dangers of navigating in open water are demanding attention, causing a restless state of mind that does not allow for contemplation or even planning the next day. Then again, there is nothing to plan. Like in a cradle, the constant rocking motion of the sail boat provides both a sense of security and cosiness as well as the reality of being completely at the mercy of the elements … Timo Klöppel created “Nachtmeerfahrten” as a haptic, accessible experience reminiscing Carl Gustav Jung’s adaption of inner and outer states of mind of the world, scrutinizing the constructedness of perception.
Solo exhibition of Timo Klöppel at KWADRAT Gallery, Berlin Manteuffelstr. 92, 10997 Berlin, Germany From July 11 to August 15, 2015 Wed. – Sat. 1-7pm