Kunst im Sehverlust (Art in the loss of vision)

In Cologne, in January 1997, I visited the exhibition Sinnenfinsternis (Eclipse of the senses), a project by sighted and blind artists, which was presented in the pitch dark. I brushed through the exhibition with my hand, feeling along the sculptures and the installations, and caught myself at one sculpture as I kept searching for any recognizable shape, until I thought: it’s probably an abstract work of art! I ought to write a report about the project, for the dpa (German Press Agency), and wondered: what language would works of art that cannot be seen needed? And how are we to judge them, if seeing doesn’t count? Now, I had already been studying art history for several years, yet here I was instantly lacking the terminology. And so a distinct field opened up in the observation of art, namely, no longer comprehending it from the perspective of vision alone, but with all the senses. Until 2003, I worked on the topic theoretically, with the study entitled ‘Kunst im Sehverlust’ (Art in the loss of vision) as my PhD dissertation. Then, from 2004 to 2006, I was able to deepen these considerations with blind art lovers during our joint visits to the Brussels Museum of Fine Arts.

Kunst im Sehverlust (Art in the loss of vision) was published by Bernhard Waldenfels of the Wilhelm Fink Verlag in 2005, including 124 b/w illustrations on 295 pages.

Review of Kunst im Sehverlust