Antichthon. A Possibly Discredited Theory and thus a Paradise Less Herrmann_Germann_Contemporary_2012



30.08.–20.10.2012, Herrmann Germann Contemporary, Zurich.


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[...] Antichthon (the Greek word for ‹Counter-Earth›) is a hypothetical body of the solar system that was first described by the Greek philosopher Philolaos in 500 BC, in order to keep in balance the concept of the universe propagated at the time. Over the millenia, the controversial notion of the Counter-Earth has been numerously corrected.

For Christian Waldvogel, Antichthon represents the periodic coming and going of worldviews, the abandoning of theories, the discarding of ideas, the changing of convictions, and the concomitant loss of paradise. 2’500 years ago, Antichthon was pictured as opulent, ideal, and fertile. In the course of time, this notion has become greatly superfluous. For if Antichthon does indeed exist, then it is no larger than an asteroid. And thus the Garden of Eden contracts into a rock devoid of life, air, and vegetation.

Waldvogel’s installation ‹Antichthon — A Possibly Discredited Theory, and Thus a Paradise Less› transcends the confines of space and individual media, and invites the observer into an environment consisting of an array of experimental arrangements, objects, projections, and images. ‹Contre-jour›, a video artwork produced in 2012, forms a lock or passageway between Earth and Counter-Earth. The video shows the sun, filmed at Spitsbergen, where it never sets. The camera is directed incessantly toward the sun, which has concealed Antichthon’s alleged location since time immemorial. What emerges from this work is a spatial and associative separation, which, from a remote external vantage point, zooms in on details now lying within tangible reach.

«I attempt to get to the bottom of things and thus to find the root of the matter, be it artistic, conceptual, or mathematical. What interests me is the bigger picture, which is greater and more permanent than individual life.» Christian Waldvogel’s scientific approach crafts a complex work, of outstanding substance and utmost formal-aesthetic quality, from the cyclical interlacing of associations, analysis, and research.

In the summer of 2013, two NASA probes will provide the definitive scientific evidence either affirming or refuting Antichthon’s existence. A year prior to this event, the forthcoming show at Hermann Germann Contemporary offers visitors the opportunity to uninhibitedly encounter Waldvogel’s interpretation of an ancient idea. Exhibition text by Tomas Germann

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