Soft Cover, English, Thread Stiching, 216 Pages, 2016
Variations on dots and lines
Nico Jungel positions his book of 424 drawings in the larger history of the image – reaching from scratched lines in caves to ink drawing and post-modern digital imagery – as a means of expressing and examining life.
While imagining source-code patterns of 1s and 0s, he poses the central question: how do we deal with the massive influence of the binary code in everyday life? Jungel's proposition is that, while our lives continune to be governed ever more by this principle of clear distinction, we are in fact never more lost. We need to categorize (in search-engines) and scale (in lists of cheapest or best products) to reach conclusions by data-analysis and pattern recognition (e.g. security concerns – who will be the next terrorist?). So how do we "get lost" in a positive way – and thus trust in ourselves – when the perfectly outlined system in which we operate actually blinds us?
Jungel sets up a medial spectrum ranging from drawings by hand (both on paper and on screen), computer and mechanically-controlled images, and 'found' and edited patterns, only to blend them all together to deliberately obscure their means of production. A closer look at most of these mixed and woven patterns testifies to their infinite variance because their creation is the function of a time-consuming process of hands in motion. With holes and gaps at unexpected turns, they flow and meander in ways that compete with the dynamism of even the best computer-generated animations. Moreover, one will find in the wide variety of images within the book that some drawings, despite being based on mathematics, are imperfectly printed; others overstimulate our vision, resulting in flickering hallucinations. Jungel strives for possibilities beyond perfection.
He invites us with his mass of drawings to take the time to enjoy losing oneself in something –or, rather, ONE thing. Only at this point, according to his statement, can one work on essential questions like: How, if possible, can we create unpredictable distortion? What does a challenging artistic production have to look like (also being opposed to machines and software)? On which structures does (social) life find more health and attraction? Jungel himself uses the process of drawing to grapple with these kinds of existential questions – but still manages to achieve visually attractive and challenging images that mark the solemn beauty of dots, lines and spaces.