Doch die schönsten Bilder sind die unsichtbaren

Mais les images les plus belles sont invisibles

But the most beautiful Pictures are Invisible

CR 43. Year 1975

Mais Les Images Les Plus Belles Sont Invisibles Jochen Gerz Cr 43 2 Web
Mais Les Images Les Plus Belles Sont Invisibles Jochen Gerz Cr 32 1 Web

Doch die schönsten Bilder sind die unsichtbaren

… An image is a visual representation. It is used to represent culture. And culture, in order to be present and visible, needs to be represented by and in images. As the present becomes absent in a split second, the former must somehow be grasped. There are two possible ways to achieve this: either we inscribe the present in our memory or we allow images to do it for us. Images - and works of art are images - impede personal and collective memory. 'Frozen' memory is memory ex negativo. This non-existent memory can be preserved only as a memorial, an utterance sentenced to endure. Such is the image. Made and signed by the artist, these images belong to and make up (Art) History. The 'true' image is not 'frozen': it belongs to remembrance, direct seeing and expectation.

Bojana Pejic 1993

The process of substitution necessary for representation can act to transform the Other into a silent, speechless and still One; into One's absence. … To represent - to create an image - is therefore to render something absent. What is absent from the image is what is real.

Bojana Pejic 1993



Picture (painted over with photographic opaque), wall drawing (photographic opaque), wall inscription (photographic opaque), parchment paper, audio recorder, cordon

The picture leans against the seat of a chair drawn on the wall with photographic opaque. To its left is the hand-written title of the work and above it the word Wärter (guard), covered by parchment paper. A soft background tone is heard from the tape recorder on the floor. A cordon separates visitors from the installation.


Galerie nächst Sankt Stephan, Wien 1975. Musée d'Art Moderne et Contemporain, Strasbourg 1994. Museum Wiesbaden 1997


I: Karlsruhe 1975a, p. 138. Luzern 1979, p. 79. Strasbourg 1994, p. 53. Wiesbaden 1997, pp. 11, 66, 69

II: Metken 1975, p. 138. Bize 1994, Cover. Ibram 1, 1994. Red. 5, 1994, Cover. Red. 6, 1994. Streckel 1994, p. 81. Asmuth 1, 1997, FAZ 23.8.1997. Feeser 1997. Gries 1997. Haase 2, 1997. Henke 1+2, 1997. Huther 1-5, 1997. Melten 2, 1997. Rudel 1, 1997. Wagner 2, 1997.

III: Pohlen 1978, p. 15. Sauerbier 1993 in LimeLight 1994, p. 9

IV: Lehmann 1994, p. 147

V: Wolf 1992, p. 211

Access general bibliography

My name is Jochen Gerz