Nuhn, Ralf and Colle, Cécile (2010) Exit-wall. [Artefact]


The project Exit-Wall has been released in three different versions: "Exit-Wall" (2010), "Exit-Wall Video" (2010), "Exit Wall/The sky is the limit" (2009) and "Strategies of Deception: Exit Wall and its Collateral Damage" (2012).
Exit-Wall (2010) is a modular installation comprising 200 illuminant exit signs assembled by means of permanent magnets. Usually such signs are used in public spaces to indicate, in case of emergency, an escape route to the outside. By contrast, Cécile Colle}{Ralf Nuhn are employing the exit signs like bricks of a wall to build a barrier within a space. For the artists, the paradoxical nature of this assemblage – originating from the contradiction between the linguistic meaning of its constituting parts (the exit signs) and the physical obstacle it poses in reality – evokes the inherent ambiguities of different limits in ‘real life’: architectural, political, cultural, psychological, technological...
Exit-Wall encapsulates Cécile Colle}{Ralf Nuhn’s continuous research about the new (im)possibilities of exchange proposed by technology. In particular, their work revolves around the inherent ambiguity of the interface, providing both access to new territories and simultaneously separating us from other parts of reality. Like an interface, Exit-Wall “promises” an exit, an access to the other side but at the same time constitutes a physical separation.
Due to the modular, magnetic assemblage of the “bricks”, the construction of Exit- Wall can be staged as a performance lasting about 30mins. A video featuring the performative construction and “unbuilding” of the wall (Exit-Wall Video) has been produced for the BBC Big Screen network and was inaugurated at the BBC Big Screen in Dover in the context of the exhibition From A to B (curator: Christine Gist) in September 2010.
A “work-in-progress” version of Exit-Wall (Exit Wall/The sky is the limit) was presented in a solo exhibition in September 2009 at the Bureau d’Art et de Recherche - BAR #2, Roubaix/France. In this initial version, the focus of the intervention was the limit between the gallery space and the street outside. A chrome-plated satellite dish - with a CCTV camera replacing the usual LNB head - was installed outside, above the gallery window. The CCTV camera captured the reflecting sky in the satellite dish, and the images were displayed on a monitor inside the gallery. Visual access to the inside gallery space was conditioned by hundreds of semi-transparent exit-sign stickers (which had also been sent out as invitation cards) covering the gallery window and entrance door.
Exit-Wall (2010) has been further scrutinized in Cécile Colle}{Ralf Nuhn’s solo exhibition Strategies of Deception at Tenderpixel Gallery, London (16 November – 15 December 2012). Composed as an experiment to critically take stock of their artistic activity, the exhibitions was an exhaustive attempt to expose and utilise the considerable amount of surplus materials and energy produced in creating Exit-Wall, posing a question of whether art creation truly allows us to gain critical distance from the materialism and growth-addiction of capitalist society. These varied remains, entitled “Collateral Damage”, ask if it possible to resolve the inherent contradictions between art’s material and symbolic value.
International showings of Exit-Wall (2010) include:
- Media-Scape, Mestrovic Pavilion, Zagreb/Croatia, 29 Sep – 19 Oct 2012
- WRO 2011, Wroclaw/Poland, 10 May - 19 June 2011. According to the organisers, "the WRO Media Art Biennale is the leading international forum for new media art in Poland and Central Europe." For the 2011 edition, a total of 2478 works were submitted from around the world, from which ca. 70 works have been selected for the biennale (success rate < 3%). Visitors > 40,000.
- Kinetica Art Fair, Ambika P3, London, 8-12 February 2011. Visitors > 10,000
- Pixxelpoint, City Gallery, Nova Gorica/Slovenia, 3 - 10 December 2010.
Images of Exit-Wall have featured in numerous online reviews and articles and a large photo was used to illustrate a TLS review of Jaron Lanier’s book “You are not a gadget” in February 2011.

Item Type: Artefact
Research Areas: A. > School of Art and Design
Item ID: 11645
Depositing User: Shrikant Chavan
Date Deposited: 13 Aug 2013 07:29
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2016 14:28
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/11645

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