In S/W artist Tobias Dostal (born 1982, Bad Herzfeld) uses the architecture of TRAFO to create a virtual ‘magic-box' of analog play with the illusionistic machinery of black and white film images. Utilizing a poetical and humorous mixture of low- and high-tech, the adept illusionist cultivates a deliberate flirting with nostalgia as a contemporary artistic tactic.
Towering analog machinery, omnipresent screens, illuminated figures and dancing shadows project a powerful visual appeal which immediately captivates the viewer. Moving images, projected on every wall of the main hall of TRAFO, create an overwhelming sense of interchangeable media fluctuating between traditional animations and documentations of Dostal's recent artist residency in Burkina Faso, where he worked intensively with the children's school located there.
In cultivating an anachronistic visual language the artist deliberately establishes a profile in distinction from the current cult of perfected pictures. Hand-drawn animation features largely in his work, as does the integration of unexpected naturalistic and coincidental features such as shadows and inkblots. Analog machinery and humoristic twists of collaboration between unrelated objects, such as feathers and film loops, combine the poetic and the steam punk in kinetic sculptures.
The exhibition is created in collaboration with the Opera Village Africa artist-in-residence program, a culture-based charity project located in Burkina Faso. The works presented in the exhibition S/Wwere created partly as the result of Dostal’s recent residency period there.
Tobias Dostal (b. Bad Hersfeld,1982) studied visual arts at Hochschule für Bildene Künste Braunschweig under the professorships of Walter Dahn, Christoph Schlingensief and Thomas Virnich. After receiving his diploma with honours, in 2012 he was awarded the New York Stipend of the state of Lower Saxony in collaboration with the International Studio and Curatorial Program (ISCP) in Brooklyn, NY. Recent solo exhibitions include presentation at the Niedersächsische Landesvertretung Berlin, Kunstverein Langenhagen Hannover, and Art Berlin Contemporary (ABC). Dostal is represented by KWADRAT gallery and lives and works in Berlin.
The Opera Village Africa is an international art project which has been realized in Burkina Faso/West Africa since 2009 and builds on the ideas of the German artist Christoph Schlingensief(1960–2010). Describing it himself as “his most important project”, the Opera Village Africa was Schlingensief's last artistic work. Coupled with the Opera Village Africa, it was Christoph Schlingensief’s wish to create an international meeting place. He believed that people of different backgrounds should be able to work as artists and to exchange views about art with each other. Since 2009, this has manifested itself in the form of a platform for intercultural exchange programs and relevant postcolonial discourses, allowing for a new and differentiated image of Africa. Embedded therein is the exchange of the daily reality of an emerging village, about 30 km from Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. The project is expected to be transferred under the aegis of its residents.
The foundation stone of the Opera Village Africa was laid in February 2010, the. To date, 23 buildings have been erected on the area, provided by the government of Burkina Faso.