White Columns

White Room Horst Ademeit

White Columns is pleased to present the first solo exhibition in the United States by Dusseldorf-based Horst Ademeit (b. 1937.) Working independently, and outside of the context of art, since the late 1980s Ademit has embarked on an obsessive program of collecting evidence – through photography and meticulous note-keeping – that would establish, in his mind, the existence of what he called “cold rays,” unseen forces that he believed severely impaired and impacted upon his life and surroundings. In a quasi-scientific fashion Ademeit made daily photographs of newspapers typically augmented with gauges, thermometers, compasses, clocks, and other measuring devices. In tandem he made notes that recorded distances and other quotidian phenomena, as well as recording things beyond visual perception: smells, sounds, atmospherics, moods, etc. Ademeit used the Polaroid camera to document his surroundings. Starting initially with his immediate environment-- his apartment building, its basement and yard, and nearby houses--he then moved further afield, scouring his neighborhood for traces of “radiation damage.” Construction sites, automobiles, bicycles, and garbage piles were all subject to his photographic studies, each precisely labeled with date, time, and location.

Unemployed for most of his life, the writer Veit Loers has said of Ademeit: “He lives in systems, and those systems live in him. Ademeit’s life is entwined in a network of terror spun by libelous neighbors, janitors, public authorities like health insurance, unemployment and benefit offices, radio and TV license inspectors, and a landlord with whom he was involved in years of legal proceedings. A system of terror that enveloped him like a negative aura, operating in the dark and keeping him under observation.” In this Kafka-esque milieu, Ademeit created systems and structures for himself, to establish some kind of ‘order’, to makes ‘sense’ of an otherwise all-consuming paranoia. By 2004, he had produced several thousand annotated Polaroid photographs.

In addition to these photographic and written documents, Ademeit lathe-turned 3,000 small spheres out of a wide variety of woods, to be worn about his person – in orifices such as the ears – in attempt to deflect the “cold rays.” In 2007, Horst Ademeit ended his research into cold rays. In total, his oeuvre consists of several thousand Polaroid and digital photographs and hundreds of pages of accompanying text.

This exhibition has been organized in collaboration with Susanne Zander Gallery, Cologne, who have recently published the first monograph on Ademeit’s life and work “Living In The Radiant Cold”, which is launched to coincide with the White Columns exhibition.

Horst Ademeit (b.1937) lives in Dusseldorf, Germany. He recently had a solo exhibition at Susanne Zander Gallery, Cologne, Germany (2009.) Horst Ademeit’s monograph “Living in the Radiant Cold”, with texts by Veit Loers and Horst Ademeit, is available from the gallery priced $30.00.

Installation view

Installation view

Installation detail
Vitrine: Notebooks and wooden objects, n.d.

Horst Ademeit
Unbtitled, 2003
Polaroid with pen
4 1/3 x 3 1/2 in.
Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Susanne Zander, Cologne