Auftakt

“Auftakt” is the upward stroke made by conductor, a gesture that comes in the moment when music does not begin to sound yet. It’s a gesture made in silence, but combining full information about time of performance, tempo and semantic fullness of music, it’s stroke and character of the sound.

 

“Auftakt” in English, means Prelude.  A prelude is described as an introductory performance, action or event preceding the principal (or more important) matter.  Roman Drits’ work is concerned with intermediacy and achieving a connection to the intangible, alluring space that lies just before, or between, events or states - his attraction is to the “silence and calmness that can be felt in one second before the storm comprises the great anxiety.”  The consistently grainy black and white photographs exude silent motion and offer a presage to unfinished events –here we find a continuous collection of moments before moments, before the happened and the happening, each one a precursor to the next ‘non-moment’.

 

The view through Drits’ lens is blurred and unfocused and aesthetically challenges what we think we know, what we imagine we see and what we are told is visible. Shifting through each hauntingly poetic photograph – from bodies and hands to windows and animals, an immersive darkness ties them all together.Sated with melancholic uncertainty and quiet equipoise, ‘Auftakt’ is a visual meditation on everyday life, taken during 2005-2010 using analogue techniques on 35mm, 120mm and a mobile phone camera.  The wider context of time and location of the images - though important - is not, Drits says, the foremost aspect of the project.  That being said, it is interesting to note that the photographs were all taken in the artists’ home country of Latvia, in a time foreshadowing the imminent political and economical crisis.  This is an ode to what comes immediately before dissonance and disturbance. 

 

For Drits, “Auftakt” is an “instantly disappearing fragment of time” that occurs infinitely, and mirrors the endless reflective motion of ‘Spiegel im Spiegel’.  This is a complex, metaphysical body of work with meanings reflecting and refracting back and forth upon themselves. 

 

In physics, there is a moment of equilibrium where an object thrown is neither falling, nor rising – the net force acting on the body is balanced and thus a state of absolute rest occurs.  This very notion is mirrored in the upward stroke of the conductor (that in turn, acts as a metaphor for the wider ideas of the project) – for an infinitely small moment of time the motion is suspended, though holding full information of what is to follow. Auftakt is so saturated with opposing forces and “paradoxical opposite feelings”, yet the piece is enveloped in a static, yet charged silence.  There are things to come, this much we can be sure of.

 

Joanna L. Cresswel

LATVIA / Pilsrundale / From the book 'Auftakt'. In the park near Rundale Palace - baroque palace built in the 18th century for the Dukes of Courland in what is now Latvia, 12.2008
LATVIA / Pilsrundale / From the book 'Auftakt'. Person dancing in the park near Rundale Palace - baroque palace built in the 18th century for the Dukes of Courland in what is now Latvia, 12.2008
LATVIA / Riga / From the book 'Auftakt'. The Baltic Sea coast, 12.2008
LATVIA / Riga / From the book 'Auftakt'. Walker at Blaumana street, 2006
ROMANIA / Bucharest / From the book 'Auftakt'. Crucifix on a wall in music school, 07.05.2009
LATVIA / Jurmala / From the book 'Auftakt'. Nude, 15.11.2009
LATVIA / Jurmala / From the book 'Auftakt'. Curtain, 15.11.2009

LATVIA / Kaushi / From the book 'Auftakt'. Two horses, 08.2008
LATVIA / Kaushi / From the book 'Auftakt'. Two horses, 08.2008
LATVIA / Kaushi / From the book 'Auftakt'. 08.2008
LATVIA / Kaushi / From the book 'Auftakt'. Two horses, 08.2008

LATVIA / Kaushi / From the book 'Auftakt'. Two horses, 08.2008
LATVIA / Kaushi / From the book 'Auftakt'. Two horses, 08.2008

LATVIA / Riga / From the book 'Auftakt'. Visitor In St. Peter's Church, 2008
LATVIA / Riga / From the book 'Auftakt'. Evil dog in Victory Park, 30.04.2010
LATVIA / From the book 'Auftakt'. In a car with Sathya Sai Baba portrait, 2009
LATVIA / From the book 'Auftakt'. Road trip, 2009
LATVIA / From the book 'Auftakt'. Road trip, 2009
LATVIA / Riga / From the book 'Auftakt'. Girl with closed eyes, 01.2010
LATVIA/ Riga / From the book 'Auftakt'. Small plane in the sky, 02.2005
LATVIA / From the book 'Auftakt'. Inside the small plane, 09.2008
LATVIA / Riga / From the book 'Auftakt'. Birds flying above the city, 31.08.2007
LATVIA / Jurmala / From the book 'Auftakt'. Violinist Jana Ozolina, 08.2009
LATVIA / Riga / From the book "Auftakt". Fireworks, 2006
LATVIA / Riga / From the book "Auftakt". 2006
LATVIA / Jurmala / From the book "Auftakt". Linda and sun, 2009
LATVIA / Jurmala / From the book "Auftakt". Linda and sun, 2009
LATVIA / Jurmala / From the book "Auftakt". Linda and sun, 2009
LATVIA / Jurmala / From the book "Auftakt". Linda and sun, 2009
LATVIA / Jurmala / From the book "Auftakt". Linda and sun, 2009

LATVIA / Ventspils / From the book "Auftakt". Smoking, 2009
LATVIA / Riga / From the book "Auftakt". Lonely figure at Stone Bridge, 2006
LATVIA / Riga / From the book "Auftakt". A man climbing the sand dune on the beach of Baltic Sea, 2005
LATVIA / Jurmala / From the book 'Auftakt'. Meditation. Lielupe river, 2008
LATVIA / From the book "Auftakt". Holding the sky. Baltic sea coast, 2007
LATVIA / Jurmala / From the book "Auftakt". View to Lielupe river from "elektrichka" - regional train, 2009
LATVIA / Jurmala / From the book "Auftakt". Linda in front of train. Double exposure, 2009
LATVIA / From the book "Auftakt". Self-portrait.   Double exposure, 2007
Latvia / From the book "Auftakt". Double exposure, 2007
LATVIA / Riga / From the book "Auftakt". Silhouettes in fog, 2006
LATVIA / Riga / From the book "Auftakt". The Dom Cathedral, 2005
LATVIA / Riga / From the book 'Auftakt'. Silhouette of walker in fog.
LATVIA / Riga / From the book 'Auftakt'. St. Gertrude church , 2005 © Roman Drits / Anzenberger
LATVIA / Riga / From the book 'Auftakt'. 2006
LATVIA / Riga / From the book 'Auftakt'. 2006

LATVIA / Riga / From the book 'Auftakt'. Musician of Russian traditional instruments orchestra with balalaika  in front, 2006
LATVIA / Riga / From the book 'Auftakt'. Musicians of Russian traditional instruments orchestra, 2006

FRANCE / Paris / From the book 'Auftakt'. Montmartre, 2006
LATVIA / Riga / From the book 'Auftakt'. 2008
LATVIA/ Riga / From the book 'Auftakt'. Old woman on bench, 2006
LATVIA / Riga / From the book 'Auftakt'. Hand in paint, 2008
LATVIA / Salaspils / From the book 'Auftakt'. Man looks up in sky on the place of Salaspils concentration camp, 2006
FRANCE / Paris / From the book 'Auftakt'. Champs de Mars, 2006
LATVIA / Riga / From the book 'Auftakt'. Bridge over Karla Ulmana Gatve, 2010
LATVIA / Riga / From the book 'Auftakt'. Wedding children near the church. The crack is a scratch on negative, 2006
LATVIA / Riga / From the book 'Auftakt'. Father and daughter are standing on one leg for no reason at Dome Square, 2008
LATVIA / Riga / From the book 'Auftakt'. Man sleeps in a bar with portrait of Lenin on the wall, 2009
LATVIA / Jurmala / From the book 'Auftakt'. Railways, 2009

LATVIA / From the book 'Auftakt'. Stork's nest, 2008
GERMANY / From the book 'Auftakt'. Sheeps, 2006
LATVIA / Riga / From the book 'Auftakt'. Little girl looks in train window, 2008
LATVIA / From the book 'Auftakt'. Boy walking barefoot with his hand in front of his face, 2008