Train Of Thought

November 23, 2014 — February 8, 2015

Daniel Laufer’s spatial arrangements combine painting, video, performance, text and music. He uses historic movie-making techniques like filming through matte paintings to create video works that distil what is painted and what is real into a new cinematic space. Laufer transports these hybrid projections back into the exhibition space, enabling viewers to physically experience their construction. To achieve this, the original technique for filming the video is also used to present it. Sometimes, the dialogue and soundtrack of the videos are performed live in front of the screen. The projected film space thus becomes a place of physical experience to be entered and appropriated.

Laufer’s narratives are associative and open. He is continually reflecting on ways of telling stories and making films. His open-ended tales often relate to certain literary motifs, fables or genres. In the Kunstverein Harburger Bahnhof, located in the former waiting lounge for first-class ticket holders, Laufer designed a video installation revolving around a niche genre of literature called ‘armchair travel’ or ‘room travel’ inspired by the French author Xavier de Maistre, who wrote Voyage “autour de ma chamber” (Voyage Around My Room) in 1795. Stories in this genre tell of travellers exploring the everyday world as if it were a foreign country by going on an imaginary journey around their own room. The Hungarian film critique Béla Balázs described room travel as a state of mind in which one explores a space within the mind.

Laufer achieves the mental leap required to get into the mind-set of the armchair traveller – when the traveller gazing at a nearby object or out a window is transported to another place through the narrative – by relying on a cinematic technique called ‘match cut’, which is often used in film to indicate a change of scenery. This makes the editing technique appear as a modern-day version of the pre-cinematic armchair travel genre. Laufer’s exhibition in the Kunstverein Harburger Bahnhof features paintings, objects and a two channel video installation that was filmed partially in the Kunstverein’s galleries and the Golem club cinema in Hamburg. In a transit space defined by high speeds, Laufer plays with the idea of the ‘room traveller’ to explore the quiet and subjective slowness of armchair travel and inertia in movement.


Accompanying the exhibition, an audio recording will be released on vinyl by the record label Apparent Extent from Cologne. This is the second LP released by the Kv.H.Bf in cooperation with Volker Zander's label, which specializes in artists’ records. The music for “Train of Thought” was composed and performed by Volker Zander and Markus Hinz. Side B includes all full length songs that can only be heard in excerpts in the video. Side A features an audio book version of the video, allowing listeners to embark on their own journey in the imagination.


Daniel Laufer (born 1975, lives in Berlin) is a graduate of the HBK Braunschweig. He is currently exhibiting a work in the 31st Kassel Documentary Film and Video Festival in the Kasseler Kunstverein (2014). He also participated in the Videonale 14 in the Kunstmuseum Bonn (2013). Most recently, his works have been shown in such venues as the Glasmoog KHM in Cologne (2014), the KM Galerie in Berlin (2012) and the Schaufenster Kunstverein für Rheinlande und Westfalen in Düsseldorf (2011), Arthur Boskamp Stiftung (2010). Laufer has also participated in the following group exhibitions: : “Ein Zimmer, invited by Rosa“, Galerie Kamm, Berlin (2012), “KW69#7 Kalin Lindena” at the KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin (2011), “The Performances” The Office in Berlin (2009) and “Session_7_WORDS” at the Am Nuden Da in London (2009).

Images: Michael Pfisterer