unstern - christoph tannert /review

ulrich polster/christine scherrer: unstern /by christoph tannert

There are streams of images that are reminiscent of Yogic manuals without the tinge of esotericism, looking rather like relaxation therapies that would have been stripped of their didactic undertones. The three-channel video projection Unstern [Disaster] by Ulrich Polster (visuals) and Christine Scherrer (sound) is arguably the most disturbing and simultaneously well-tempered exploration of remoteness to come out of Germany in recent months. Spectators embark on a journey through time and space, only to sense the gut-wrenching, mind-numbing horror of distant worlds insidiously taking hold of them.

Unstern is not a romanced version of the eponymous story written at the outset of the 19th century by the lyrical author Joseph von Eichendorff, whose accounts of otherness parodied Goethe’s Poetry and Truth. In fact, Unstern by Polster/Scherrer is anything but a romantic complaint on the state of the present, as the artists merely borrow the poetic nimbus of this wonderful title. Their video, a masterpiece of visual and aural requiescence, meanders through the existential landscape of mankind with timeless scepticism, relentlessly dizzying the spectators’ senses while continuously supplying them with new impressions marked by an unfaltering sense of atmosphere.

Christoph Tannert is curator and art historian and lives and works in Berlin