Knocking on heaven's door


In spring 2024, we had the pleasure of hosting the exhibition of the Berlin-based artist duo Kg Augenstern, Christiane Prehn and Wolfgang Meyer.


The project exhibited at the BOCS in Catania, Italy, was another successful collaboration with N38E13 of Palermo, which in recent years has had a dialogue with BOCS, the Sicilian art project space based in Catania.


Curated by N38E13, KNOCKING ON HEAVEN‘S DOOR presented the results of a research by means of an audivisual installation.


In the period before the exhibition, the German artists spent two months working on the island of Pantelleria with the intention of exploring the diverse energies of the electromagnetic fields of the volcanic area of the island.


During their residency in Pantelleria, Kg Augenstern carried out an extensive research focused on the earth‘s magnetic force and its influences. This analysis was made possible thanks to the use of a high-sensitivity measuring device created for the project, enabling Kg Augenstern to measure electromagnetic radiation and investigate the impact of art and ritual practices upon it.


Human beings have always perceived the powerful energies that “mother nature” offers, whether of geological origin or another. Indeed, themes such as life and death restore harmony by enabling a genuine dialogue between humans and nature.


The exhibition at the BOCS in Catania, Italy presented an excellent opportunity to make this research project tangible through video and audio installations, sculptures and traces of minerals, a complex research full of ideas that gave the visitors and the artists the opportunity to reflect upon their spiritual ideas.




Guiseppe Lana


art director BOCS

- Box OF Contemporary Space

The research


Kg Augenstern explored the territory of the island without any narrative predetermination. They connected the visible and the invisible, measuring the radiation and electromagnetic distortion of places. This is a fine measurement aimed at revealing subtle forces of nature within electromagnetic fields. In this process, ritual and the creation of art are engaged as extreme possibilities of being, capable of revealing invisible forces obscured by visible light which is just one manifestation of the Earth's electromagnetism.




A magnet necessarily consists of a north pole and a south pole, two opposite charges. Even if we repeatedly split the magnet, the two opposite charges would simultaneously persist in each single broken part.


We exist in a magnetic field and everything is electromagnetic. We are made of particles held together by electrical forces, electrical charges in motion that produce magnetic effects.


The result is the electromagnetism of all existing matter, whether visible or not. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It can only be transformed into other forms of energy. And it is only possible to generate a positive electric charge if we generate a negative electric charge and vice versa. It is not possible to interrupt the magnetic field. But a reversal of magnetism is conceivable, as it happened to the earth thousands of years ago, and as it is previewed to happen in the future. And it was precisely a stone of volcanic origin that revealed the polarity inversion of the past, engraved and registered during the solidification of the magma.




Ennio Pellicanò - N38E13


The exhibition


The installation „Knocking on heaven‘s door“ reveals a different world observed from the keyhole of a door that marks the passage between life and death. Deprived of the key, we can only peek and knock, engraving on it the signs of our intuitions. One enters into a vision in twilight, into a visual distortion of the encounter between darkness and light. A contingency of two opposites in the state of semi-shade, of the continuous coexistence of life and death. It is a polyphonic installation. A single narrative expressed through a set of works.


Crossing the threshold of BOCS one finds oneself inside an inevitable dream, suspended between life and death. A space in between, a fissure in the temporal simultaneity of the two extreme conditions of man. In a symbol, etched several times on knocking on heaven‘s doors, random or divinatory, a positive sign crosses the boundaries of the circle. A temporal void suspends our fears.


We enter the exhibition with an outstretched gaze on the horizon almost risking tripping over the stones of Black Diamond, which shows the weight of our certainties.


Nine stones are placed on the ground, corresponding to the places explored and their mutual distances. They are joined by lime marks and reveal a structure. They are the stable facts of a uncertain narrative. The composition corresponds to a geomantic mapping, a divinatory art that connects points without order. A gravitational constellation imposes weight and mass, in an electromagnetic tension traced visually by the white lines of convergence, leading to unpredictable geometries and symbolism.


Stones are matter, shaped by all the forces of nature, an incredible sculpture whose author is hidden in the wholeness. The stones here contain obsidian, volcanic glass, which was formed during the very rapid cooling of the lava. Obsidian has long been a much sought-after material by peoples of the past for the production of tools, weapons and jewels, such that it could be considered „the black diamond.“ Its glassy component makes it particularly sharp and reflective. It is also referred to as the „black mirror.“ It retains within it past magnetism, dating back to its solidification, and sediments recent and current magnetism.


The hermit‘s cave, a cavern once used by Byzantine monks, is regenerated in a BOCS niche. A place discovered by Kg Augenstern in the crevasses of the Pantelleria mountains. It brings together spirit, body and ritual and expresses its maximum sublimating power in the sculptural work Sceccu. At its entrance, an ancient Pantelleria door separates but does not divide, and proclaims beyond it a single truth.


An altar displays Sceccu, a donkey‘s head covered in black diamonds, obsidian stones. A set of black mirrors, charged with magnetism, healing the donkey‘s skull, like magma turning to stone. A charge and power, visual and aesthetic, such as to reveal an extreme possibility in ritual and art. We are inside a continuity of life and death, one is reflected in the other. Life is reflected in a black mirror, while death observes it.


The initial gaze on the ground, on the earth, acts as a counterbalance to the gaze turned to the sky absorbed in the clouds that hold our liquid illusions.


Cloud 9 represents a deviation from the gravitational field of Black Diamond. The stones are now clouds. Lighter than the air that surrounds them, they float and hover over the electromagnetic field. They are formed by the evaporation of water molecules from the earth‘s surface, and they condense into positive and negative electrical charges.


On sheets of transparent paper, drops of passito (a typical wine of the island) are randomly distributed. There are still nine of them, corresponding to the places explored and their different electromagnetic radiation and distortion. The pictorial result on them reveals, between rippling of the sheet and variations in depth and colour, the transformation of the material from liquid to solid. It heralds, as in a frame of a sequence, the electric dance of molecules. The clouds hang from the thin and delicate tips of tentacles, telescopic fibreglass rods that have accompanied Kg Augenstern's research for years and which produce a slow and continuous, sometimes imperceptible movement. Cloud 9 connects electromagnetic fields, generating imperceptible circles of sound with every subtle movement.


The data in the descriptions of the places show the intensity of electromagnetic radiation and its distortion and the impact that meditative and ritual practices have on it.


At the end of the room, upright on a wall, Heaven‘s doors - Sketch, the negative form of four open Byzantine stone tombs is presented. They are a form of darkness, black as if they were observed from inside that void that seems to suspend magnetic forces waiting for a reversal of polarity. Spectra that lead from half-light to darkness, where a new light of the electromagnetic spectrum is revealed.


Behind the wall: Heaven‘s doors. Kg Augenstern used four ancient doors to cover the Bycantine tombs stripped of their lids in the past. They are the possibility of opening being to the two worlds of a single reality. Signs are engraved, perceived in the darkness. A combination of signs knocking on each door in search of the uncreated light.


Beyond the wall, in Gravefield sounds, the electromagnetic field of the Bycantine tombs is translated into sound. Sound is an oscillation, another movement in space. It is a wave, much slower than light, which transfers movement through reverberation to adjacent particles, which oscillate transmitting the movement to other neighbouring particles and these in turn to others.


The sound recalls the ritual of dance.


The gaze again turns to the sky where in Magnetic winds, a sensory sculpture, whose form recalls that repeatedly engraved sign - a cross immersed in a circular void - detects in realtime the magnetic field in the room and its variations caused by people passing by and visualisizes it as a projection on the fifth door.  An unusual electromagnetic field reveals the set of interconnected particles in its projection. A magnetic wind generates electric currents. A dance, beyond the wall, beyond death.


The back of the space coincides with the presence of a fifth element, the gateway to paradise, the substance of the ‚Anima Mundi‘, the life force preserving the memory of forms; the formless light. That light to whose search the four Byzantine monks dedicated their entire lives. Impalpable and not visible, it emerges in the darkness from the unmanifest, yet permeates everything as the perfect source of the elements: Earth, Air, Water and Fire. An incorruptible element, it orients the narrative in an imaginative intuition; the ‚behind the curtain‘; the ‚beyond the scene‘.




One could proceed in reverse, exchanging beginning and end of the exhibition, without detracting from the imaginative narrative that permeates the space.




Kg Augenstern's installation expresses itself in an alchemic polyphony of material and immaterial elements, which resonate and reverberate in the possibility of generating a suspension, an attempt to grasp the meaning of a unique existence beyond life, beyond death; beyond that emptiness of creation that hangs over being, beyond the meaninglessness with which we are pervaded.




Death looms over being in its ontological totality, death is metaphysical. As man‘s extreme possibility, death reveals itself in a state of anguish, in a twilight devoid of fears, as an original understanding, the opening of an intuition immanent to true being. We are completed in our essence by the awareness of the constant looming of the end of our possibilities, dissipated in the extreme possibility of death knocking on heaven‘s door.




Ennio Pellicanò - N38E13



Pictures by Kg Augenstern


Pictures of the artworks in the exhibition by Antonio Vasquez




Thanks to


Gunther Dudda, Thomas Kern, Siegfried Buck


and Gert Prehn