Aneta Palenga

The title of the final exhibition of a 10-month residency-grant, that Nico Pachali spent in the Lower Saxony town of Stuhr-Heiligenrode, stands like a warning. As if his new set of work, titled BODY 1-4, is actually about to set out on a journey. Afterall, we find in robinsonades, that even inanimate objects can become a desperately needed counterpart. This may include your own work as well. The graduate of the Braunschweig University of Art, spent an intensive work period at the residency, after finishing his final year there.

Nico Pachali glue pasted copies of drawings to the walls of the gallery lobby, which analytically reflect on works shown in the two main rooms, titled SPACE BODY and SPACE LANGUAGE. The artist creates his own space of thought, to collect potential formations, as well as different visual manifestations of his work. In this way the audience is already made familiar with his thought process in a kind of transit-zone relating to: SPACE – BODY – LANGUAGE – MOVEMENT – ACTION.

In the larger one of the two rooms, 5 flat objects (BODY 1-4 or HANDLUNGSSTÜCKE) are placed in a formation (BODY FORMATION) in the center of the room. Cased in an organic-seeming synthetic envelope, interwoven with a semitransparent, fine thread, Nico Pachali gave his works space – and with it a body - for protection and storage. His objects thus become easy to transport and versatile in their applicability. Even more so, the artist has turned them into companion pieces to reflect on his former work and placed them in relation to an order system: BODY 1 (Wall Formation), BODY 2 (SPACE VS. SPACE), BODY 3 (1. Handlungsstück), BODY 4 (Needing Language) as well as DRAWING EXPANSIONS (1-3). Like the rings of a tree, the Bodies contain layers upon layers of different development stages. Drawings and smaller objects – reminiscent of blueprints or manuals – are complemented by self-reflexive text pieces and collections of vocabulary, that relentlessly circle around the artists field of reference: FORMATION, BODY, LANGUAGE, POTENTIAL, POSSIBILITY... rather subtle, they are hardly visible. The multiple foldings of the BODIES, their wear, the aging of their semi-transparent plastic envelopes, make it difficult to grasp their entire contents.
For Nico Pachali drawing is thinking. A graphical, self-referential process of reflexion. In drawings the artist investigates the meaning of the recurring constants of his own work. His frame of reference: the specific space used, and the experiences made in connection respectively. Pachali places his works intuitively in the space at first, sketches the different possible arrangements, reiterates this process with photographs of the room, which in turn are labeled. Thereby he opens up the possibilities of potential transformations, that not only communicate with their environment, but also with their creator, by way of superimposition, overlapping, transparency, and legibility.
Format filling drawings of the BODY VOCABULARY, coloured in with red marker in the artist’s unique handwriting, are installed on the wall above the raised platform of the ”Müllerstube“ in the back part of the gallery: FORMATION, STORAGE, MOVEMENT, PROGRESS – SCHRIFT (writing), HANDLUNG (action), SPRACHE (language), KÖRPER (body), POTENZIAL (potential) – REJECTING, REVERSING, ISOLATING, DENYING, IGNORING – DOUBTING, FOLDING, MOBILIZING, OVERLAYING. Indeed the use of this terminology can be compared to their application in strategic command lines in the NFL, the National Football League of the United States of America. He takes the use of these command lines, among other things, from the so called „playbooks“. The language used in this sport refers to the essential vocabulary needed in the game. The few, precise commands function both as commentary for the game moderator, as well as for the analysis of possible moves and plays. It is this potential, the possibility to react to the specific spatial situation, that Nico Pachali is appropriating as an artistic strategy, through its language and aesthetic. A German-English intermixing of language that calls to action, without giving an actual reference to performativity.
We, as the audience, are in no way invited to unwrap the evidently folded object. On the contrary, it seems necessary to observe the BODIES in their physical ”stand-by“ state, in the given space. The horizontal sculptures give the impression of papyrus artefacts from the future or of an insectoid repository of knowledge. Each smaller object, as well as each drawing, exactly fits into one of many custom-made slots, that are closed with flaps and loops. Even the details of functional pieces of clothing are distinguishable. Each BODY is evolved in a unique way. Neither metric exactitude, nor explicit organic curves are important in the process of development. The sculptures remain compatible exclusively to the system that Nico Pachali has developed. He himself remains his only standard to which to compare to. They have to be useful only for him. His determination for his works is shown by the cultivation of a degree of crudeness, and the development and mastering of his own expertise, craft and material. 
Despite the aesthetic kinship, Pachalis pieces are different from Franz Erhald Walters textile „1 Werksatz“ (1963 – 1969) or his „Handlungsbahnen“ (1997 – 2003), works, for which the install and deinstall is constitutive of the piece itself. The amateurish and futuristic-seeming folding works of Nico Pachali, much rather highlight the direct relation to their creator on the one hand, and emphasize, on the other hand, that the potential of their inherent „call to action“ is larger than the realization of the action itself. The flexible and mobile properties of the BODIES, also express the artist's desire for his own mobility.
The ideas for portability, as well as for a work process independent of spatial and time constraints, emerged for the first time during a stay in Mexico City (2015-16). The question was: How is it feasible to work as an artist, independently from studio space, materials or even elaborate production processes. By way of a reduction to little resources, that are almost always present: paper and pencil, time and space. It is not for nothing that Pachali’s thoughts mainly circle around the possibilities that these parameters offer.

How alive is one without language? This question became more and more central during Nico Pachali’s time in Stuhr-Heiligenrode. The works in the smaller gallery space focus on the necessity of language accordingly: NEEDING LANGUAGE (FOR BODY), VOCABULARY DRAWINGS, as well as KLEINES SPRACHBUCH FÜR BODEN. 
Although The KLEINES SPRACHBUCH FÜR BODEN is placed central in the room, half opened, it is theoretically possible to open and read it from both sides. Labeled on both sides with red marker on transparent plastic, the 31 words, that contain the language-essence of the BODIES, are superimposed on top of each other. The artist formulates, in staccato-like triads, for example BODY BODY SPACE or BODY FIELD LANGUAGE, the mental instructions of the VOCABULARY OF SPACE, on two pencil drawings in the size of DIN A4 paper.
In a group of nine other pencil drawings, the artist connects language and writing reminiscent of a manual with the experimental arrangement of his objects. The single pieces of paper in plan view, show imaginary rooms or spaces on a field, each filled and populated with the formations of the BODIES together with language. Unused spaces on the other hand, are filled in with pencil. This series developed during the residency to something autonomous, which in its method, also forms the foundation for the artist book BODY PLAYBOOK.
Coming back to the works of Nico Pachali. When observing them, like we did in the beginning – as unknown, even animated objects – the question emerges: whos body is actually meant when we speak of MOBILE BODY? His self-referential interaction with these works, his analytical drawing and processual questioning, becomes an end in itself. The visual and imaginative for him, is inextricably linked with the thought and understanding of his own practice. Thereby Nico Pachali rediscovers his works in this Terra incognita again and again, and develops them further in this way. MOBILE BODIES: the hypothesis suggests, that the potential of movement is more interesting, than the movement itself.