Der Weg des größten Widerstandes (Path of Most Resistance)
Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg, Germany
25 Aug, 2023 – 14 Jan, 2024
Opening: 25 Aug, 6 – 9 pm
Since the start of the Russian war of aggression in 2022, Knecht has been part of the Ukrainian resistance and has travelled to the country numerous times as a volunteer helper. His trips have taken him directly to the front in Kharkiv, Izium, Kyiv, Chernihiv, and Odessa. The experiences of the war that he has had while engaging in his humanitarian activities have left behind traces in Knecht’s artistic practice, and are brought together in his series of works The Path of Most Resistance. ‘Besides social engagement, art for me is one of the very few sensible actions for dealing with the experiences one’s had,’ he says. Knecht regards the works created as social sculptures, which assist in turn in financing humanitarian projects.
With large-scale installations in the indoor and outdoor space – he is planning to transfer a crater caused by an explosion from Izium to the park of Schloss Wolfsburg – Knecht gives rise to vivid pictures. He transcends conventions and borders to anchor the upheavals in people’s visual memory and opposes any habituation of the state of emergency.
The main installation in the indoor space consists of numerous colourful, hand-knotted camouflage nets. On his travels in Ukraine, he regularly exchanged professional camouflage nets for them and is now transposing them to art. The content-related contrast between the nets produced by means of emotional handwork and the protection they are intended to offer against highly technical war equipment is charged with aesthetic tension.
The incredible situation of the war is also demonstrated by a large, three-by-five-meter painting. To produce it, Knecht poured linseed oil for painting into burnt-out tanks and burnt munitions. He then dipped the canvases in the ashes of these tanks, which remain stuck on the canvases as pigment and colour. Knecht sees this as a batik technique that is generally associated with hippie and peace culture.
The exhibition is curated by Dr. Susanne Pfleger.
With the support and to support: Livyj Bereh (Kyiv), Pixelated Realities (Odesa), Virnij Naprjam (Isyum)