Exposition "Harry Meyer, In Dialogue", Museum "Alte Universität", Eppingen"
by Brigitte Herpich
This is not the first time that the artist Harry Meyer has presented his works in a museum. Indeed, he is carrying on a tradition that he began ten years ago at the Diocesan Museum in Eichstätt and has continued at a variety of places across the museum landscape.
His current exhibition takes him to the “Alte Universität” museum in Eppingen in Southwest Germany, a museum devoted to the town and to half-timbered architecture and housed in an impressive half-timbered building from the late 15th century. There, Harry Meyer’s sculptures and oil paintings encounter evidence of local and regional history as well as the building itself and the genius loci, the spirit of the place; in other words: the concrete and in each case singular reality that one is confronted with in a certain place and with which one has to engage and ultimately come to terms. A place is therefore a space with a certain character of its own. Now, what character does a museum have, and what is the particular essence of rooms in a Gothic half-timbered house? Let us allow Harry Meyer’s works to guide us.
Gothic architecture, the most outstanding achievement of which is considered to be the cathedral, is characterised by its emphasis of the vertical, its striving towards the heavens. The realisation of apparent weightlessness came at the price of having to build vaults that were as difficult as they were precarious and for which their builders had to go to the limits of the possible – and not seldom beyond their own limits. The heavenly vaults depicted in Harry Meyer’s starlit nights reflect this striving towards the heavens. Like Jacob’s ladders, strands of materialised energy twist their way upwards. Is it the vital energy of the Earth, that of the trees rooted in it, light energy in physical form, or a symbiotic combination of all these forms of energy? The artist leaves it open – it is not important either. Like nature returning to the embrace of night at dusk, the viewer of the celestial vault can sense the presence of the breath of the universe, intangible though it is.
The synergy of museum space and image space produces a silence and peace all of their own that enable the viewer to re-attain a more profound level of perception. The light in Harry Meyer’s paintings – be it the irresistible pull of light in his “Lux” series or the twinkling of individual stars in the night sky – rekindles the memory in the viewer that it is with light that orientation “dawns” on one in space. This brings us full circle to the space in this case, which is that of the museum. The “encountered container space” is transformed; it is “no longer a homogeneous three-dimensional receptacle for inanimate objects and living things”. In dialogue with art, it fulfils its potentiality.