What does Nothing look like? Conrad Freiburg attempts to show us in his upcoming project at the Hyde Park Art Center, It Is What It Isn’t. Through this exhibition and Residency at the HPAC from October 2010-July 2011, Freiburg considered the possibilities of the Void through an interactive sculptural installation in the Art Center’s main gallery that included a large-scale drawing machine, a hand-crafted telescope, musical instruments, and a “destruction station.”
The artist invites the public to experience the so-called Void by literally creating and destroying things in the installation, as well as seeing and hearing them. This project is rooted in Freiburg’s contemplation of the idea that the most powerful force in the physical world, as well as the psychological, emotional, aesthetic and spiritual worlds is that which is not known or not understood, i.e., The Void.
This idea surfaces in many disciplines and can be looked at through multiple angles. In astronomy the void is represented in the vast emptiness of outer space. Religious beliefs, such as Buddhism, experience the void as a mental space for absolute consciousness. Psychologists liken the void to the relationship one has to the Other. The concept of the void is always defined through it’s opposite condition – the Something and Nothing define each other. In the artists words, “It Is What It Isn’t explores the impossible VOID, the sublime unknown, the space into which we expand, the concrete absence we honor through song, carved stone memorials, night-time gazing at the vast emptiness of our heavenly rotunda, and the hand we can no longer hold.” Breaking down the notion of the void into the categories of absence, loss and the unknown, Freiburg welcomes the audience to think of the world not in material objects, but the opposite: having nothing and knowing nothing.