_ Schools above Ground | Ulrike Grossarth

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Schools above Ground

‘Parcours - Schulen über der Erden (‘Show Jumping Course’ – Schools above Ground), Berlin 1988/89

Treatment of a series of copperplate engravings by J. E. Ridinger entitled Presentation and Description of the School and Campaign Horses by their Lessons, Augsburg 1760. From the forty-six copperplate engravings that constitute Ridinger’s Lectionen, I selected nineteen sheets and placed them in a new sequence entitled Parcours (Show Jumping Course).

In a process that lasted one year, I surgically removed, as it were, the horses and horsemen from the pictures by means of photocopying and collage, retaining the description of the positions of the horses once depicted. The work now consists merely of original scale copies of views of the empty spaces and the text describing exercises from the ‘High School’ of horse dressage. I thus eliminated the representation of a horse’s body which, trained according to aesthetic principles, could be also used for military purposes—and with more precision, at that. What is revealed here is the relation of 18th-century humans to their own physical/material existence, and the way of thinking and acting resulting from it and that I believe is still handed down until this day.