Some thoughts on Ralf Kopps Projection „Origin“

How honestly does he really mean this? You can‘t blame anyone, whose first reaction to Ralf Kopp‘s Projection „Origin“ is filled with skepticism. So from a common point begins the bubbling of coloured discs advancing simultaneously in four directions with a jazzy effect that visual pimps up the room, just think the lava lamp. Something so passively pleasant to look at that it may well “slip away” while you concentrate on the choral singing. However one quickly realizes that there is a direct connection between the modulations in melody and the succession of discs. Rising and falling tones are accompanied by a rising and falling flow of colours, so absolutely contemporary, that you barely realize it yourself that the flow of colours is controlled by each and every nuance. With the last tone the last disc is released. Kopp’s work that comes across so playfully actually belongs to a stringent system.

There are two paths at a right angle that intersect with the vertical path longer than the horizontal, a Roman Cross. From the intersecting points the discs start to form, illuminating from a dark background, its exit point, whereat the Red-Orange-Yellow part of the colour spectrum is displayed on the horizontal path and the Green-Blue-Violet part on the vertical path. (A microphone sends the acoustic signal to a computer which then differentiates between high and low tones and optically manifests these differences. The already fostered dream of a colour piano from many synaesthetically talented artists has been realized here through the means of digital electronics.) The dialogue is explicitly from paths instead of beams - the apparition of the cross is equally temporary as it is immaterial. Because of this its effect is more lively. In book illustrations from the middle ages the crucifixion motive occasionally appears, the cross on which he is nailed to, on which suddenly spring-like leaves appear. The rigid dead wood transforms itself into the ancient symbol, the tree of life. Similarly throbs of juice appear in constant pursuit, overlaying each other, creating new drop mixtures in Kopp’s cross entity.

The handling of the cross motive by the artist with such a positive vital vision fits with his earlier works that takes away this fixation of pain and torture. In reference to the choir, he pulls immanence back specifically from the bottom of the sphere of transcendence. “It is the community that makes the cross”. Even more though, “Humans are not only creature, but also creator ”. Therefore the intersection of horizontal and vertical exemplifies human condition, the specific place of humankind at the intersection between terrestrial and celestial orientation, that semiotics has gathered substantial proof of - going back long before Christianity. The “Intersection” also has a special meaning in Ralf Kopp’s version. Depending of what the choir sings the cross paths, an asymmetrical flickering like the random constellation of traffic at a motorway junction, punctuated by a few bars of silence/extinction into darkness, increases at the center and also the center of the audiences interest. Here is the origin of the coloured discs, better described as the “Source Point” than as the “Intersection”, from where all movement takes place, pulsating and lighting its exit. Involuntarily you remember a passage in the New Testament, for instance Johannes 4.14, where Christ speaks about himself coming from “a spring of water welling up to eternal life”. Certainly it is the community that makes the cross. Nevertheless, “Origin I” cannot be easily secularized, particularly as shown in the church: It remains the purpose of why the community comes together to first open its mouths and sources, if it can even do that at all.

Dr. Roland Held, Darmstadt 2012

Ralf Kopp, Darmstadt
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