Valerie Wagner BFA

Bachelor-Thesis: "TEMPS"

Supervision: Prof. Theo Smeets, Prof. Ute Eitzenhöfer


"My work is about a small word composed of only five letters that sounds so familiar, so easy to understand until you start thinking about it. Such a small word that maybe is one of the most important to us. Those five letters put together are accompanying us every day. This word is one of the fundaments of our society, our culture, our life. Speaking about it is speaking about moments, movements, measurements, rhythm, changes, dynamics, actions, space, tempo, temporality, eternity, irreversibility, durability, duration, pulsation, seasons, weather, climate, history, nostalgia, death, Dasein, existence, time…

I’m speaking about the French word: Temps. If I want to say: I like to spend time with you, I say „J’aime passer du temps avec toi“. If I want to ask somebody about the weather I can ask: „Quel Temps fait-il?". Temps has different meanings depending on the context: It means time but it can also define a meteorological state. The polysemy of this word was challenging me. It permitted to make a relation between time and climate. Two concepts that can be as confusing and complex as they are common and controversial in our society. I started to search for time. On my way I saw a person running after the time, thinking that catching it is like catching a train and another running far away from a mysterious monster that is called „loss of time“. I met a person trapped in bygone times and another dreaming about „free-time“. I finally met people thinking that time should not be a clock that is always ticking on the same rhythm for everything and every one of us. People considering a multitude of different times and rhythms through other cultures and life itself.
For me stones are the material which contain the subject of Temps outstandingly. They almost overflow with time related symbolic. On them you also can read the signs of environmental changes like lines in a book. When I started to work with them I suddenly got confronted with another rhythm, another kind of time. I had to slow down and contemplate. I got fascinated by dripstones growing drop by drop in the bowels of earth. It took months, even years until these drops grew an object. I also started to search for stones around me and therefore a personal story was created with each of them. When I look at them I imagine that some were laying deep in the ocean before the first man’s breath and other being the protectors of a precious miniaturized world, the guardians of many secrets slumbering in the depth of earth. Words, lines, stones, threads, colors can tell different stories to different persons, or be just what they are in their materiality, depending on how we look at them.

My pieces are fabling personal stories, stories about me, about you, about us. They are a portal to another world, they are living shadows, dancing silhouettes, encounters through time and space, memories drawn in sand."

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