Text by Irina Raskin
Proposed by Gudrun Lange
How does the process of letting go feel like? The precondition is trust, and after a short moment of fright, finally comfort. In a way that is what the installation “hang-out shirt” of Gudrun Lange makes experience-able. It is a long sleeve shirt with prepared loops on its backside, on which ropes are attached, that are again fixed at a metal bar. Wearing this shirt, the construction allows oneself to hang out in an angle around 45°. Although you have to tighten your body, a feeling of relaxation arrives, as you can, through the help of the ropes, shift your weight up front. But still there is moment of insecurity – you better be aware of the danger to fall to the ground. “I’m German, but I’m not an engineer” as Gudrun puts it while presenting her work to the others. The hang-out is always accompanied with the possibility of loosening ropes. Besides, the ability of a body to unconsciously catch up oneself while falling could be seen as a survival instinct.
The idom “am seidenden Faden hängen” [literal translation: to hang by a silk thread] describes a state of an uncertain end, a being in a dicey situation. The expression derives from an ancient story of Damokles, who was envious about the power of his sovereign. As Damokles once got the chance to sit next to him at table, a sword hang over him, tied up only by one horsehair, in order to explicate the constant dangerous situation of the sovereign. Although the physical situation evoked by the “hang-out shirt” is far away from a life threatening experience, still Gudrun is examining how much one can relax or let go though the danger of falling. How far are you willing to give the control of your body to knotted ropes?