Exchange exhibition: part 2

from 04.12.1999 to 08.01.2000

Susanne Gamauf, Maria Hahnenkamp, Dieter Huber, Robert Zahornicky, Michael Michlmayr, Klaus Pamminger

Art-Photography from Austria : Six Individual Positions

On the beginning of Susanne Gamauf‘s work Herbarium there are similar strategies as which they are used by museums of natural history like to find, collect and arrange things to get a high grade of information. But it’s not to get a solid methodical consolidation - it is her interest on shape, color, structure and the confrontation of the photographic moment with the scanning artistic look when she draws: „I pull the petals off, I take apart, my eyes look along those new appearing information and then I arrange them on a sheet transformed into the two-dimensionality.“ The pleasure in artistic discovery, interpretation and use overlap with scientific research.

Maria Hahnenkamp traces the ambivalent definition of the female in its symptomatic everyday quality. With her methodical references to photographic or filming processes such as projection, (serial) repetition, fragmentation, cut-out, montage, superposition, index, positive and negative, she makes the transforming and also aggressive potential, which lies in the (unconscious) imaginary processes, comprehensible. She succeeds in conveying this transforming quality as a process of abstraction and at the same time in capturing it in the real, material object. The photographic image of a piece of draped fabric, the scraped off surface of a photography or picture fragments, which have been sewn together by machine in a new arrangement, are indexes of a physical contact with the body and at the same time represent it in a continuously shifting projective form. (from: Silvia Eiblmayr: On the Dialectic of Methodical Perception in Maria Hahnenkamp. Catalogue M. H. -Vienna/Salzburg 1996)

Dieter Huber‘s Klones are computer generated photographs. His simulations also work emblematically, even if their sense seems to have become lost. Since there is nothing in writing, the viewer is tempted to read the pictures in their double meaning: first as a composition of signs and second as one whole single object closed within itself, whose sense, however, remains a mystery. Unlike their forerunners in art history his pictures are no longer mirrors of a perfect order of nature - i.e. an order commensurate with the human mind, but are now the expression of an obvious disorder that, paradoxically, displays itself as if it was perfectly in order. (taken of „Notes on Dieter Huber‘s Works by Bernd Schulz). Peter Weiermair, director of the Rupertinum in Salzburg writes in „Visions of a Different Possible World“: No other contemporary artist has employed advanced techniques of computer-generated photography in presenting moral, aesthetic, scientific and religious aspects of change in our „nature“ in such a subtle and dramatic manner.

Michael Michlmayr comments his work Finestra as follows:
Finestra results on the intention of making the cameras view-finder, which normally is only the limiting window every photographer has to look through, become the focus of attention. This „picture“ always shows a selected part of the whole scene, and so I combine the detail with an additional level: those which is in a right angle to the image itself. The subjects mainly deal with the parameters of time, light and shape - the basics of photography. (Michael Michlmayr / June 1998)

Klaus Pamminger's works have their starting point in the querying of conventional habits of seeing and perception. “What is the meaning of the images that evoke everyday things and how can perceptions be initiated and made more acute? [...] In his environments the real and the depicted merge with the imaginary. Visitors at the same time become participants of the spatial exhibition course and the artistic staging, and spatial and temporal reference levels merge with each other.” (Sabine Schaschl) / Stella Rollig in her speech to -out of standby-: The idea of simulation, that in the epoch of new media always is an intermediate level between experience and reality, that we actually pass through the world by its representatives, ...(is something, Pamminger concerns with since years now) [...] I think, two analytic and strategic methods, which seem to be of present interest in today’s art, get linked. First is the querying of the place of art. The white cube -the exhibition space- opposite these places, the attempt, to place art in midst the everyday; ( Eikon 26/27-99; p. 53).

As Susan Sonntag once pointed out, man in the industrialized world defines his existence in terms of pictures which become aspects of reality, whereas primitive peoples are afraid of having their pictures taken for fear of losing part of their selves and hence part of their reality. In our culture, however, we require a host of photographs which taken as a whole offer evidence of our existence. By using SLIME, a children’s plaything, to create his portrait photos, Robert Zahornicky delivers a resounding blow to our trust in pictures and our yearning for a semblance of beauty. The very transience of pictures corresponds to the material transience of the species which exist only briefly, before their ephemeral materiality dissipates. A photograph of a situation or condition as such (of those slime covered and subsequently doctored faces) merely offers a picture of picture that has been processed, whose claims to eternity per se appear futile. The mischievous use of a children’s plaything in all its hues immediately takes issue with the seriousness of the contemplative process. (from: Species, Notes by Sabine Schaschl, 1999)