Jorinde Voigt works methodically and with mathematical precision, filling the paper with pencil patterns drawn with broad gestures; arrows, figures, words and lines form a dynamic composition that seems almost to move and vibrate. Her work lies within the tradition set by such pioneers of conceptual art as Hanne Darboven and Sol Lewitt but Voigt introduces emotion and the human measure, actually lying on the outspread paper to make her drawings.
The idea becomes a machine that makes art: a famous statement by Sol LeWitt, the founder of conceptual art. In the case of Jorinde Voigt (b. Frankfurt, 1977), the idea is replaced by an algorithm – a finite sequence of instructions executed in iterative steps until a particular aim is achieved. Voigt has devised a number of algorithms of her own and given them names like Zwei küssen sich (‘Two kissing’) or Adlerflug (‘Flight of the eagle’) – imagined actions where the result of one step helps to determine the next. With incredible perfection and great patience, she executes the process systematically from beginning to end, producing complex, human-size drawings reminiscent of musical scores by modern composers like Iannis Xenakis and Giörgy Ligeti.
This summer, the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag is showing a work by her entitled STAAT/Random 1-11. Earlier exhibited at Robert Wilson’s Water Mill Center in New York, the work is constructed of eleven diptychs, each composed of one large and one small drawing. Within it, Voigt combines eleven of her algorithms in varying confrontations. The resulting human-size superstructures create an illusion of movement and have a strong emotional impact and impressive spatial effect. Just as music can have a direct emotional impact without the use of visual images, so Voigt’s work moves the viewer directly through the forms the artist cretes with her lines, stripes and arrows. They link the inner and outer world in the same way that Kandinsky intended his abstract works to do.
Jorinde Voigt trained in Berlin and London and was for a time a Meisterschülerin in the class of Katharina Sieverding. Following a number of shows in museums and galleries in Germany, other European countries and the United States, STAAT/Random 1-11 is her first solo exhibition in the Netherlands.