Eyes hold things differently


We never see the same things

Margins (or motives)

Und sie fällt uns dauernd runter / This one's about love, a text, which came into being over the course of the last year for the exhibition What a beautiful idea you were at NOUSMOULES c/o L'Etoile Endettée in Berlin, is one of the margins of the exhibition. Another one is an application text that I wrote in April for a research stipend on the related movement/gesture describing the terms of remove and disappear. It is on view as a text picture. There are a few texts in the exhibition. Texts maybe also because my uncle, Michael Turnheim, wrote that writing would be the only dignified outcome of mourning.

Mourning is a term at the margin and is formally often visualised with an edging. Here a black marker points to this, which circumscribes all frames on their outer edge.

In the last years my pictures cried time and again (polyurethane drops at outside of the glass of the frames). Before my printing date for the pictures of this exhibition I used the Photoshop painting tool “Art Memo Brush” for the first time. If you go over parts of the pictures with it, they appear to be wet. Almost as if they would cry from the inside (this time).
Or I was crying while photographing, had to cry while photographing.

Friedericke Mayröcker died in June (you know?).

and when they or you left, a part of my sky went away *

No love is left in the eyes or on the floor

In chapter 1 of Und sie fällt uns dauernd runter / This one's about love it says: 'No love is left in the eyes or on the floor' and later 'Is there anything left on the floor ? If I had to illustrate this text, I'd put this cropped screenshot here, that I found somewhere in a note folder of Oldenburg's dirty brown and beige Floor Cake today, with a text saying Claes Oldenburg, Floor Cake, 1962 (MoMA) May 22nd, 2006 / A podcast about this fun sculpture of a giant piece of cake.'

In Once upon a time in Hollywood the song Cake in the rain, that is McArthur Park plays on TV in the scene where Brad Pitt/Cliff Booth is emphatically greeted by his pitbull who thrusts him to the floor of his trailer. Cake in the rain would have been the more cryptic choice (for) a title I thought of for the exhibition What a beautiful idea you were, which opened in August in Berlin.

Objet petit a ≈ Regentropfen

We ate the sun ≠ I can see clearly now the rain is gone

There's a visual resemblance between emoji raindrops and the way I visualised Lacan's objet petit a (the object cause of desire) years ago. Or I move the objet petit a into the rain. Everything/Love is overcast. Or what has rain to do with desire and what has rain to do with seeing? And with not seeing or not seeing well. The colours are moved, they are not right (or maybe they are right, because they are not right). The pixels appear to be dirty. How passive is a/the objet petit a? Someone drew these raindrops (and these consoling clouds and this shielding umbrella). There is no emoji for soul on my phone. There was quite a bit of rain in/this May. Even emojis serve as text.

a-holes (counters of small a letters) ≈ Objet petit a

Or how I pictured Lacan's objet petit a (the object cause of desire) years ago, 2011/2021 is a sun-bleached screenshot. And a pendant to Rain (beige/brown), 2021, Rain (black/red), 2021 and Rain / Umbrella (pink/green), 2021.

I receive a text saying Oh Lisa. It's from someone I met 14 years ago. Time is weird.


Three “landscape”-pictures in portrait format remind of butterfly wings. A pair and a single wing. They fly, that is, they are mounted to the wall in a way that they appear to fly, if you look at them from the front. They are attached with a rubber band to two 19cm l-profiles protruding from the wall. Balloons function as distance pieces. Whereas they would usually lean towards the wall, they hold the pictures away from the wall. One of the “landscape”-pictures comes with the following text:

Die Landschaften sind große, heterogene, hochformatige Fotografien, die im Photoshop zu detaillierten, abstrakten, malerischen Bildern gebrochen werden oder zu trägen, fast monochromen Bildern auslaufen und alle formal hinunter weisen. Ihre ursprünglichen Motive sind dann nicht mehr von Bedeutung. Zum Teil sind sie von Malereien Jean Fautriers aus den 1940/50er Jahren inspiriert. Ich erwähn seinen Namen gern. Man könnte sie als Türen lesen. Und manche als Schmetterlinge. The pain in the chest is a landscape, but it might be a butterfly.(1)



In mythology and folklore

According to Lafcadio Hearn, a butterfly was seen in Japan as the personification of a person's soul; whether they be living, dying, or already dead. One Japanese superstition says that if a butterfly enters your guest room and perches behind the bamboo screen, the person whom you most love is coming to see you. Large numbers of butterflies are viewed as bad omens. When Taira no Masakado was secretly preparing for his famous revolt, there appeared in Kyoto so vast a swarm of butterflies that the people were frightened—thinking the apparition to be a portent of coming evil.[104]

Diderot's Encyclopédie cites butterflies as a symbol for the soul. A Roman sculpture depicts a butterfly exiting the mouth of a dead man, representing the Roman belief that the soul leaves through the mouth.[105] In line with this, the ancient Greek word for "butterfly" is ψυχή (psȳchē), which primarily means "soul" or "mind".[106] According to Mircea Eliade, some of the Nagas of Manipur claim ancestry from a butterfly.[107] In some cultures, butterflies symbolise rebirth.[108] The butterfly is a symbol of being transgender, because of the transformation from caterpillar to winged adult.[109] In the English county of Devon, people once hurried to kill the first butterfly of the year, to avoid a year of bad luck.[110] In the Philippines, a lingering black butterfly or moth in the house is taken to mean a death in the family.[111] Several American states have chosen an official state butterfly.[112]


II. Japanische Sprichwörter/ Redewendungen

Manchmal dauert es einfach, bis sich eine gute Gelegenheit für ein bestimmtes Vorhaben ergibt. Da hilft dann auch kein Drängeln, sondern nur „Abwarten (und Tee trinken).“ Im Japanischen könnte man in diesem Fall z.B. sagen: „縁と浮世は末を待て“ (En to ukiyo wa sue o mate). Übersetzen kann man dies u.a. mit: „Warte bis zum Ende auf die (erhoffte) Beziehung und die (bessere) Welt.“

Aus der Mailaussendung der Japanischen Botschaft in Berlin am 17. September 2019. (2)


I think of the way Denis Lavant flies dancing in the very last minutes of Claire Denis' Beau Travail (and certain nudes, I didn't get a chance to take). And how this scene visualises a relation/way to relate to the world and how it always makes me feel less alone. Or how I understand every move, am moved by every move (or Denis Lavant).

Poetic abilities

Kazuyo Sejima, 2021 is the fourth picture in the exhibition that (like the pictures of the butterfly wings) flies. I like the tender margins a scanner produces, also at areas where nothing overlies.

During the work on Und die fällt uns dauernd runter / This one's about love I recalled a text about the architect Kazuyo Sejima, that I read years ago. Her work/buildings appeared to me as something like built tenderness or maybe built sensitivity. Or translations of something as tender and abstract as relations in architecture. And not just because she always includes the neighbourhood and the light. And the buildings seem to talk about that tenderness in architecture even if difficult to think, when built can have something very simple, natural/casual (in a poetic sense made) and pass on its importance/meaning. It becomes readable. Sejima builds something like a caring (or as she once said healing)architecture. Or an architecture that (not just accidentally) holds you. She thinks a lot about how people move through and in and out of her buildings and this might be one reason why people are moved by them, why the buildings are moving.

One's own tenderness is the first thing that leaves or is lost during emotional or mental stress and one is not totally oneself. Shortly after, one loses one's poetic abilities. Or the subject's darkness (Subjektfinsternis) consists in the disappearance of the subject. It is amazing and reassuring how much confidence you obtain, when one’s poetic abilities are available (again).

Lisa Holzer

*Tan Lin, Heath (Plagiarism/ Outsource), Notes towards the Definition of Culture, Untitled Heath Ledger Project, A History of the Search Engine, Disco OS (Bootleg Version), Vienna, Westphalie, 2011

(1) The landscapes are big, heterogenic photographs in portrait format, broken down in photoshop into detailed, abstract, painterly or bleeding into inert/dull, almost monochrome ones pictures. All formally indicate downwards. Their original subjects are not of significance anymore. Partly they are inspired by paintings by Jean Fautrier of the 1940/50ies. I like to mention his name. You could read them as doors. And some as butterflies. The pain in the chest is a landscape, but it might be a butterfly.

(2) II. Japanese proverbs/ expressions

Sometimes it just takes time till there comes about a handle for a specific undertaking.

No pushing helps but “to wait and wonder.” In Japanese you could say in this case e.g. : „縁と浮世は末を待て“ (En to ukiyo wa sue o mate). One can translate this et al. with “Wait till the end for the (desired) relation and the (better) world.”

From the mailing list of the Japanese embassy in Berlin on September 17th, 2019.

Pressetext für Eyes hold things differently, Layr Coburgbastei, 2021