twelve parts, 180 x 240 cm
(c) VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2013; photo: courtesy of Galerie Elisabeth & Klaus Thoman, Innsbruck
THESAURUS depicts a bookcase with row upon row of mainly antiquarian reference works. Here, Thomas Feuerstein directly references the use of the word “thesaurus”, which comes from the ancient Greek thesaurós, meaning “treasure” or “storehouse”. The word “treasure” comes from the Latin word thesaurus. In today’s world, “thesaurus” describes a systematic structure for acquiring knowledge, in which grouped concepts such as synonyms or descriptive attributes are used to characterise a topic as accurately as possible. Feuerstein (*1968 Innsbruck, AT), created this pin-sharp work by merging multiple individual images to show sets of encyclopaedias arranged alphabetically from A to Z. On closer examination of the titles, we find a disparate range of topics covered, from algorithms and art to curiosity and cybernetics, from chance and destiny to guardian angels and neurology, from obsession and occultism to servers and souls, and from time to zombies. Hidden among the shelves are some obvious paradoxes, such as books that look for all the world like 19th century editions but deal with contemporary subject-matter. One such example is the book entitled Server. The job of deciphering the overall theme of the artistic and alphabetical arrangement of the terms is left to the imagination and intellectual creativity of the individual observer, who sees reflected in this thesaurus of terms on human existence an expression of himself and his own questions.