Let's Expand The Sky – in Black and White

(c)Estate Hugo Roelandt
Auto Mobile Tergicristallo, 1985

​"Auto mobile objects that combine technology and MOVEMENT. Art without artist, form as its own form: windscreenwipers in a pond." (Hugo Roelandt)

< Automobiënnale 2, Middelheimpark, Antwerp, June-September. '85

< Agua i Agua, Espace 11, Fundacio Miro, Barcelona, April '86

Roelandt’s best-known work from this period [1980] is Auto mobile tergicristallo, a collection of moving windscreen wipers placed in a pond in The Middelheim Museum in Antwerp for the Automobiënnale 2 in 1985. The work so caught the eye that a local newspaper, without any reference to Roelandt, The Middelheim or even to the fact that it was an art work, used a photo of it as a joke on the continual rain of that summer. 

From the catalogue of the Middelheim Biennial: The project Auto mobile tergicristallo emphasises – by means of the wind screen wiper as “pars pro toto” for the car –the auto-mobility, the self-movement. The cycle of natural day light influences a photo-electric cell and thus controls the electric energy. The wind screen wipers are planted in a pond. As if they are reed or plants that live from photosynthesis. 

Auto mobile tergicristallo is a system that is completely self-sufficient, independent of any intervention from outside. The intensity of the light of the sun controls the installation and varies the interval of the windscreen wiper’s movement from one to twenty seconds.

To reveal the selfconfirmation, the habitual pseudo-evidence of the system, the installation Auto mobile tergicristallo is based on the paradox that the windscreen wipers only function when the sun shines. This installation does not just refer to an ecological responsible vehicle or to auto-mobility controlled by the natural cycle of the light. Auto mobile tergicristallo exists in itself. The windscreen wipers only function because of each other, independent of their paradoxical context. The wiper is freed from his rational function of serving the driver. The project is devoid of any form of representation: there is nothing represented here.

(Abstracts from Hugo Roelandt: Let's Expand The Sky, red. Mark Holthof, Occasional Papers, London, 2016)