by Thomas W. Kuhn
Within our culture art and science are still oppositely regarded. They represent two essential concepts of western culture in the modern age: radical subjectivity of the individual expression and strict application of objectionable methods to achieve a rational recognition of the world.
This understanding of art and science has developed itself as dichotomy since the 18th century. This development is accompanied by the meticulous evolution of special fields such as the arts/humanities, the natural sciences, and higher institutions such as universities, academies and museums.
Magic chambers and the collections of curiosity towards the end of the Middle Ages and the ensuing renaissance celebrated the unity of these opposites. The simultaneity of expression and recognition, the equal value of things done and their naturalness were constitutive for art and world view of the renaissance.
An integral and interdisciplinary approach of the late 19th and early 20th century tied on to these integrative concepts which revived the basic idea of the ancient Greek word Techne / Τεχνη from Art Nouveau till Bauhaus being exemplified by a circle of personalities such as Karl Blossfeldt, El Lissitzky or Lásló Moholy-Nagy. From the almost scientific observation of nature by John Constable in the late 18th century till the often conjured up Fibonaci sequence of numbers of the Arte Povera artist Mario Merz who paid tribute to the harmonious relations between mathematics and natural forms range these links which are not at all devoid of a poetic dimension.
Considering her works Felicitas Rohden may be traditionally aligned with those people who, from a clear-cut artistic standpoint, have an affinity for sciences. Astronomic, physical or mathematical structures and ideas are the basic material for her question about the possibility of understanding and illustration of universal facts by man. The pictures, sculptures and installations are intrinsically a result of her artistic research however, which, in the optical representation of phenomena analyses their rhetoric structures and her questioning aims at their symbolic potential.
In her latest work the artist gets a geometric cube-shaped model of the Italian mathematician Bonaventura Cavalieri (1598-1647) to unfold spatially. This scientist who was also active in the fields of optics and mechanics tested in this case relations between surfaces and spatial volumes. The cube chosen by Felicitas Rohden consists of three pyramid-shaped elements. This cube is transformed from a square basic form into a triangle. The artist folds these pyramids down and uses them as projection surfaces for the three basic colours of the additive range and for magnified reproductions of microphotographic takes from particle physics. Whilst Cavalieri‘s cube stands for the Euclid space being for a long time considered as valid, the microcosm of particles refers to different physical space models as they have also come into being as consequence of the relativity theory. The Euclid space gave way to a concept that starts out from a curved space in which light is bended by the force of attraction of great masses. „Bended Sight“ illustrates this juxtaposition, which is capable of raising considerable psychological and philosophical questions. At the same time it proves itself worthy of esthetic dimension that illustrates these mathematical and physical phenomena which may be absolutely understood in the sense of the magic chamber as a fascinating thing.
Translated from the German by Gerd-Volker Heym