Axel Guhlmann: Transitive Archive


Axel Guhlmann: Transitive Archive


August 25 – September 19, 2008


The Joan Flasch Artists’ Book Collection shows Transitive Archive Vol 1 and 2 by Axel Guhlmann, Leipzig, Germany, 2002.

The artist spent time in industrial and public buildings - train stations, factories, pools - that had been vacated and abandoned and no longer serve any functional purpose.

As much testimony to the unfathomably abrupt shock his native country went through in the ‘90s (and still is in an ongoing and at times painful re-unification and re-structuring process) this work also strives to visualize how time, or industrial production, or public life, can come to a sudden and complete halt.

One way to track abandonment and the accumulation of solitude is to collect and visualize the accumulation of dust.

Axel Guhlmann un-settles it for one last time, sweeps it up over long hours and in rhythmic motion, not to play into the work's performative value but to condense it into simple sculptural forms.

In an attempt of cleansing these architectural structures and maybe his (or the collective) psyche in the same sweep, he creates ephemeral stumbling blocks of eerily silent beauty; this almost non-matter is given physical properties and life once more, is heaped up within spaces that have in themselves become insignificant, and are empty but for the light and debris that floods them.

On display in the Sharp 5th floor hallway cases until October are eight of his large-scale black-and-white photographs as well as eight photogravures.

Transitive Archive (Dust Sculptures) vol 1 and 2 by Axel Guhlmann, Leipzig, Germany, 2002. Two folders of 12 prints and photographs and 12 text panels each, 24 x 28 in, bound in linen, edition of 11.


“Axel Guhlmann: Transitive Archive,” SAIC Flaxman Library & Special Collection Exhibitions, accessed August 17, 2018,