Colombo (2013), 2013
fiberglass, ceramic and aluminum
147 × 103.5 × 5 cm
Inv. No. 0266
Sonia Leimer works with concrete, physical space and its limits – with imagined, recounted, and also with remembered, space. The trained architect analyses the fragile and unstable shoved between the apparently fixed, robust and stable. A theoretical as well as thematic constant in her work is the universe, the outer space, with its unending projections, tensions and puzzles. Leimerʼs works in the evn collection connect heaven and earth and imparts poetics and a soft shimmer to the high-tech technology of satellites.
The video Maybe a Diameter of 20 Miles shows the sparse landscape of the San Rafael Swell in Utah, USA. The ridge, like the teeth of saw blade, is surrounded by deep canyons, stone columns and geological curiosities. This is where the international Mars Society runs their Mars Desert Research Station. The research station was co-founded by science fiction legend James Cameron, who appreciated the unique environment as a film location. Paramount Pictures made this the birthplace for Vulcan Mr. Spock, scientists from around the globe gather here for biological and geological field research, candidates for space exploration – both animal and human – simulate life on Mars.
The video material is found footage and was shot for a television production, but not used in the show – a “lost film,” as cinematographers call missing or lost film material.
Aluminum-coated Panox-Kevlar was developed for the mission to Mars, Kapton is a polyimide foil created by Teflon producer DuPont, and was of decisive importance in the success of the Apollo program. Sonia Leimer prints the material with pictures from the satellite Mariner 4, the first to pass Mars and transmit pictures of the surface of the planet, taken with a television camera, back to Earth. Or she hangs a piece of fragile woven fiberglass in a frame and calls the object Colombo, be it the Italian astronomer Giuseppe “Bepi” Colombo, the namesake of the space probe, or Cristoforo Colombo, the “discoverer,” or Inspector Columbo, the “detective” of America.
For two small sculptures, Sonia Leimer uses Kapton, fiberglass and titanium foil, all materials good for space suits and keeping the human body alive during loss of pressure in a space capsule. These works deal with models of “mission-related-objects,” so-called Space Junk, flotsam created by explosions in space. It litters the universe. Sonia Leimer, however, considers the dangerous scrap to be fascinating relics – she speaks the clear language of minimal art and supplies them with psychedelic metallics.
Brigitte Huck, 2015 (translation: Virginia Dellenbaugh)Continue reading