David Jablonowski

by Marta Gnyp for Zoo Magazine #30

Reproduction is the key word in the works of young German artist David Jablonowski. It forms the theoretical and formal point of departure for his intriguing objects, installations and video works. In an era of unlimited digital reproduction, he questions a concept that has been used throughout the ages.

1.33:1, Hard Copy, Display Sequences,
Multi Channel Projection,
2010 – 2011, 3 channel projection;
stainless steel, plaster, offset printing plates, water
ca. 450 × 450 × 200 cm
Commissioned for COMMA at
Bloomberg SPACE by Bloomberg LP, 2010
courtesy Galerie Fons Welters

Jablonowski’s art explores how our communications systems have functioned and evolved through time. He is particularly fascinated by how various means of communication can exist through reproduction, and how every new layer of time and location can change them. Each reproduction and each reprint is followed by a re-animation of the existing message. What do we add and what do we lose every time we write a letter, type a word, make a sign or invent a new method of communication? And why are we so terribly addicted to the well-known forms? With self-confidence and persistence, Jablonowski urges his viewers to discover similarities and link old communication symbols from different cultures to new computer age designs. By doing so, he highlights the inexorable programming of our ideas and behavior.

For example, Jablonowski’s thin aluminum pages displayed on silver pedestals attract our attention not just because of the exciting photos they show, but also because the dog-eared pages exude a sense of familiarity. Since the beginning of the printing press, dog-eared pages have indicated the presence of the reader or marked his interest in a book. The familiarity provided by this little fold has moved seamlessly into today’s software-designed pages. By simultaneously presenting the original and the redesigned, Jablonowski exposes the complexity of today’s reference systems. And he goes even further: printers, scanners, and computers are literally parts of his objects.

Thanks to their lack of any personal or emotional references, the rigidly-designed technology becomes structures of communication carrying universal and timeless ideas. Like an archeologist, Jablonowski digs and finds ancient image systems and displays them within our contemporary environment. His flat-screens and copy machines resemble strange obelisks, ziggurats and pyramids—at the same time serving as the new monuments of the future.

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