The New York Optimist
December 2008
Transaction is an interactive file. One
can stir themselves through the
installation with the curser.
Rhythmic Forms Summoning Psychic Reverbs from Times Square.
Multi media works by Bettina Schükle

Rhythmic Forms
Holding a conk shell to the ear to imagine the sea.

Fabric off the streets of Trivandrum, India are pleated and then stretched over rectangular wood
constructs that range from 5 to 10 centimeters in depth and 60 to 150 centimeters in width and height.
When confronted with Schülkes’ “Textile” series, there is a stillness in the work that insists the viewer
experience the rhythms of the folds in the fabric that administer a local anesthesia and render the viewer
sedate enough to receive cryptic codes inaccessible to the prejudice of the conscious. The viewer is
persuaded to explore the tactile topography of what appears to be vertical creases of skin with a patina
surface and crevasses when inspected, give way to a brighter tinted under-painting veiled beneath the
surface. The palette ranges from neutral gray tones to highly saturated hues to assault the eye only to
return to the sanctuary of earth tones. The work sustains an amorphous/organic quality that implies
flowing coral suggesting the movement and transference of color and form towards a purely aesthetic
agenda.

Psychic Reverbs
Where form and content acquiesce at high speed.

Large scale photographs of the same person collide and are spliced together by cutting each in vertical
strips then gluing them together in alternating sequence. It’s as if by peering through the rear view mirror
of a hysterically fast moving automobile one can see the occupant(s) in the back seat raddled into a
medium of psychosis. “Psychic Reverbs” is a crossbreed of portrait photography and graphic landscapes
that are fuse together under extreme duress and the uncompromising recklessness of the driver behind the
wheel. Rather than slowing down while going over speed bumps, the vehicle accelerates to heighten the
impact of the warp and blur of the faces of once recognizable and willing participants. Friends, Lovers,
Galerists and even their children become unknowing players in the framework of this aggressive morphing
process. The strategy is simple and affective especially where children are involved but that is seemingly
always the case. But in this instance the dare has a bit of bite to it as these adolescent subjects are the
progeny of collectors, a breed that usually don’t consent to the deformation of their gene-pool and is
particularly effective when harsh make up is applied to the images in order to emphasize the distorted
contours of the faces and the dissemination of the next generation of acquaintances.  


Times Square
Memories, membranes and the space between.

Especially from the top of the “Double Decker Site-Seeing Big Apple Tour” bus, the lights are so intense
and massive in their brightness, multitude of size, technology and just shear wattage, you forget that there’
s a sky above. The effect of this series of photo collages is a condense juxtaposition of vertical expanse
and lateral constraint inherent with in the confines of “Urban Market Utopia”. This body of work presents
a masked feeling of marvel. As if one was being hard-pressed to absorb, consume and retain the enormous
amount of sensory over load only later to be dubbed “Our Big City Baptism” to fit into a photo album as a
reminder. It’s enough to have “Dorothy”, (us), clicking her heels. These images usher us through space
and time with the impatience and intolerance of a traffic cop rather than offering the serenity and
amusement of one stealing time. The graphic result is as if the space itself collapsed in vertical slices of
glass landing up-right in perfect sequential alternate patterns to accentuate the visual saturation and the
promiscuity of the environment.


Dangerous Beauty
The stench of beautiful.

Bettina Schülke’s work is derived from her exploratory research of the phenomenology of the earth’s
natural occurrences involving light, water, motion and energy transference.  Her findings are converted
into abstract compositions that even encapsulate pollution in various forms documented from diverse
locations around the world.  Ms. Schülke sugar dips the work with a seducing membrane of plastic resin,
solarises the gook and goo of toxic spills into heavily saturated hues and even explores the Aurora Borealis
with suspicious inspection. She spins her findings into confectionary images and multi media installations
using conductive apparatus to manipulate the movement of the viewers who enter producing the sound
and visuals of these sensorial-amped surroundings. The work seems to exploit the irony in the pursuit of
awe inspiring experiences in nature without being aware of their origin and the consequences of their
existence, yet never the less we are titillated by our own consent to be in such close proximity of
“Dangerous Beauty”.  

bettina.schuelke@aon.at
www.bettinaschuelke.at
                                                                    
Alexander Viscio
Curator: Alexander Viscio
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Rhythmic Forms, textile, detail, 2005
Psychic Reverbs, photo collage with resin, 2006
Satellites, collaborative project, MAK Vienna, 2006
Foil and light installation, Lume, Helsinki 2006
Plumb Bob's snap line drawing tool and Snap line wall drawing, 2006
HWY #4 digital animation stills with resin, 2007
Pollution Diary, drawing on text, and photo collage, 2007
Research for Dangerous Beauty, aerial photos, 2008
Photo cut-out installations on walls, various dims, 2008
Photo collage on lazer cuts on aluminum, 2008
Above & Top Right: Installation propsal for the next Aurora Borealis 2009
Self Portrait, Digital print under resin