Thoughts & Insights

The Play of Light and Time

Two years ago during the Encounter between OUBEYs painting Nullfeld (Zero Field) and the whale filmmaker Daniel Opitz on Maui/Hawaii, something happened that we hadn’t reckoned with. In the course of the Encounter the painting – which had been properly lit for the video recording – gradually slipped under the sway of an illumination factor which makes all the spotlights of this world pale by comparison – the sun.

Following the rotation of the Earth, the sun reached that precise spot in the heavens from where its rays could fall with full force and splendor through the window of the room directly onto OUBEYs painting. And what happened then on and in this painting was spectacular.

The glorious blue of the painting changed to an incandescent violet while the three dimensionality of its deep structure, apparent before, radiated with a new vitality, an unexpected astonishing sense of new possibilities revealed. The reflections of the sunlight coaxed totally new pictures out of this seemingly familiar painting, although the painting itself of course remained objectively the same. We were dumbstruck in astonishment and delight. Neither of us had ever experienced anything like it before when viewing works of art, and we feasted our eyes insatiably on the banquet of glories revealed by the passage of sunlight.


Since that time on Maui I’ve been pondering how such an experience can be made accessible to other people. But who has the time to wait for the moment when the sun’s beams fall at the correct angle on one of OUBEYs paintings? And at precisely such a moment who has the chance to have a painting before them that can respond so intensively to the light of the sun as one of these paintings by OUBEY?

And now an answer has come along. It’s called Digital Discovery. With Digital Discovery you can regulate the play of natural sunlight on one of OUBEYs paintings from any place and with very little effort. This unique technology opens the way to sensational voyages of discovery through OUBEYs works. You can move forwards and backwards across the natural 24 hour progression of light and dark and play and replay any section you wish – across the whole surface of the painting shown on the screen which corresponds to the size of the original and is a 3D reproduction as faithful to the original and as accurate as possible.


This is very much in line with OUBEY for whom “painting with light” was a major pole of attraction from a very early stage, even though sadly enough the technical possibilities available to him during his lifetime were few and far between. And it’s also in line with the approach taken by the OUBEY MINDKISS Project which eschews “expert” ways of seeing and interpreting because it believes that each person brings their own way of seeing to a painting which in turns enriches the way all others see. And here the sun as a factor which shapes our ways of seeing is a most welcome guest! The colors and structures of a painting in the rays of the rising sun are quite different to the same painting seen at midday or sunset or during the night. Everything is the flow of a process, nothing stays the same. Each situation has its own particular charm, its own particular quality.

“Digital Discovery” is another example of the highly unusual approach adopted by the OUBEY MINDKISS Project which shuns the conventional rules of presentation and received ways of perception known in the established art business. Rather than assigning a painting one perfect place under perfect conditions of lighting, the excitement of lively dynamic interaction is created by offering the possibility of viewing it from a multitude of changing perspectives. Over and over again.

The Digital Discovery experience will be premiered at the 5thAnniversary of OUBEY MINDKISS on 5 May at the ZKM | Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe. We’re really curious to see just how the audience will greet it!