GAST BOUSCHET / JIM FORSTER / MARKUS LANG
from 02.11.2000 to 01.12.2000
Markus Lang, Jim Forster, Gast Bouschet
Pictures, photographic prints... From what? Why?
Pictures do not have a clear mission. Photography has a lot to do with thought-processes: with the intricacy of thinking. Reality is a compromise between many, very subjective perceptions. If you are interested in stories about reality, you must not be content with examining traces, you have to think about ways of transferring reality.
Everyone who visits my exhibitions becomes part of a creative process. Of course everybody can have a look at the pictures, judge them to be beautiful or ugly and go back home. I do not try to prompt viewers into a direct participation with any tricks. However, it is important for me to keep this boundary open and not to tell the stories to the end. This also concerns my films. Telling stories in a classic narrative way does not interest me. Rather, it is important for me to build up relations between my pictures and those in the mind of the person who looks at them: the aim is to get different realities together. My work is not laid out to be theoretical. The essential point for me is to mediate models of stories which continually emerge and crumble again.
Confusion is reality... Perception is only possible through confrontation. Contexts light up briefly and disappear again. The pictures conceal as much as they show. They contain a loss which is hard to designate but which is noticeable. Relationships are more determined by changeability and transitoriness than by certainties. The two media photography and film seem virtually ideal for me to portray this continuous development of occurrences and accidents.
Gast Bouschet, August 2000
My work explores photographic imagery through fictional narratives, and plays with some of the assumptions that underlie them. It draws on the simple, mass consumption imagery of brochure advertising, magazine photo romances and children’s learning materials, all of which contain potent subtexts about the world they portray.
Story telling through pictures offers a means of communicating in a direct, almost shorthand style. It is one of the oldest forms of visual language, predating the widespread use of text. In our present-day image-swamped culture, the photo story is seen as a crude form of communication, lacking the subtlety to deceive the viewer into believing its surface message and is frequently used to depict (and often parody) basic human emotions.
This apparently direct form interests me; there are no attempts to create or simulate real experience – the images are unmistakable from any documentation or record of reality. In this sense the photo story is transparently simple - a progression from one composed, fictional illusion to another. But for me it becomes more complex when the narrative content itself addresses notions of illusion, interrogating its own simple form and posing questions about the characters, objects and settings portrayed.
The 2 photo series in this exhibition show highly constructed ‘role plays’ where characters are photographed performing in provocative psychodramas. The images are illustrative, the roles stereotyped and the environments stylised. This sense of the artificial gives them a humorous, though slightly disturbing quality because the protagonists are ‘objects’ in both a pictorial and a narrative sense, manipulated by each other and the storyteller. As well as exploring notions of ‘real’ and ‘assumed’ identity, through disguise and stylised costumes, the pictures also allude to the act of looking and being looked at, where the viewer’s attention echoes the voyeurism in the images. The pictures have a ritualistic and sometimes obsessive quality in their depiction of the role playing behind everyday situations and seem to show acts of encounter and confrontation, exploring the uneasy relationship between appearances and the associations or feelings behind them.
Jim Forster. July 2000.
< What am I seeing here?
< Our habits of seeing are completely focused on the process of recognition, on identifying objects, people, colors and structures as quickly as possible.In Markus Lang’s photographic work, this insightful aspect of visual perception is picked out as a central theme on different levels and is thwarted at the same time.
The starting point are pictures from films (moments from a lavishly produced continuum) which are put on pause, cut out, and edited and enlarged digitally. Since the photographic view concentrates on visually condensed events, something similar to a dramatic pause emerges. Through a series of decisions and edits (concerning clips, colors, definition and size) a certain picture is brought to be viewed. One, which has never existed in the film in such a way and which cannot prove a different origin except this one. What has been found by the photographer and put into picture, is disentangled from its history/origin in the same act, just as if released to an imaginary disposal. To which reality of images does the sky, which is being explored by both airplanes, belong to? Its concocted blue would not stand up to a reality check. For just this reason, it becomes a projection for possible imaginations of light and space. The recognized objects (a car, a certain gesture, a fireball, a mood), which are thereby marked by significance, counteract the process of technical abstraction in images. This always present moment of disintegration makes that what is seen disappear into the structure of visibility.
The central factors of movement and time for the film medium also play an important role in the aesthetics of images of these photographic works. Different qualities of time clash in a virtual moment: the fleeting running time of film images, the extended time of screen-shots, and finally the stretched time of the printing process when the enlarged picture is put together line by line. By rearranging such condensed shots to series, another factor of time becomes relevant. It refers to the course of an event by citing the additive principle of the film. However, it is the omissions, the shots not shown, which open up the series of shots to a dramatic and narrative space.