from 01.04.1998 to 02.05.1998
Irene Kar, Annelise Jackbo
An instant of life, lasting 1/60 of a second.
A moment is captured that will never return.
The photograph will always be there, the moment has been frozen for ever.
A fraction of a second later the scene is lost.
The camera is a mirror with a memory, but without reflection.
The painter starts out with the canvas. On this white surface the artist creates life by painting forms and colours. Every decision has its consequences, every component that is brought into the picture is of decisive importance for the entire composition. Overloading the picture would reduce its powerfulness: "less is more".
The photographer's world is three-dimensional and instead of adding something, the photographer has to reduce the number of pictorial elements to bring order into the chaos of this world. This has to happen in the fraction of a second, since a photographer must meet exactly the same demands in terms of pictorial composition as a painter. The painter is not subject to any temporal constraints, - while photographers must capture precisely the right moment. One might say that painting is meditating, taking photographs means reacting.
Annelise Jackbo combines the journalist's way of looking with compositional force and a feeling for the right moment. She stays close to her subject and captures situations precisely at the moment when something happens - encounters between people or palpable discord - something absurd or humorous. With her professional knowledge and force she pulls us into a variety of situations, lets us meet people and sketches this unique moment in their lives.
And their frozen movements will continue for ever.
About Irene Kar's work
People are strolling through the streets, sauntering or hurrying on to their next appointments. The flow of pedestrians becomes the decisive impulse of Irene Kar's work. With an almost ironic look at those everyday rituals she follows our footsteps with her camera lens. It is the individual upon whom the artist focuses, as he moves through the urban space, conquering it for himself and for a moment determining it with his presence. Using the details she finds she explores for the brief duration of the shutter speed that undefinable relationship between people passing each other, rescuing them from the anonymous hustle and bustle and fixing them in the private aura of the individual picture. For Irene Kar the direct identity of a city is composed of this variety of impressions that she wants to make perceptible the way she sees them. On site she researches the niches of the intimate in the urban space and then makes these photographs visible again to the passers-by in their authentic location by means of small-format colour prints on foil. Photography is here not understood as an autonomous pictorial medium, but consistently links itself into the installational context, which can never be seen as separate from the real exterior space. Irene Kar operates in the borderline area between documentary photography and the turning of snapshots into something composed and almost staged.
The immediate vicinity of Fotogalerie Vienna becomes the scenario of her pictorial motives and in a way her exhibition space. She covers signs, shop windows, facades and other urban furnishings with those foils, whose "survival time" is determined by the rythm of the city itself. The foils function within the same strategy as those popular codes of decals and graffiti that become silent signs of social conflicts on the borderline of illegality. Without occupying an official space, they disappear as unobtrusively as they have appeared. The artist's intervention in the exhibition space itself seems minimal. She invites the visitor to wander around as a saunterer in search of the pictures on site or to even include himself in this cycle of illustrating the urban space by means of the photographic foils she provides. The observer is called upon to look way beyond the boundaries of the reproduced reality, in order to compare this with his own experience of the urban space.
Earlier projects by Irene Kar are similarly linked to this concept of relating the spectator to her collection of impressions of the urban space, so as to make places identifiable not merely by their architecture but also by their people. For Kar's showcase entitled "passing by" for the exhibition "museum passage" in Salzburg in 1997, Kar spent more than a week photographing people who passed by this place: in evening dress, on rollerscates or accompanied by their dogs. She attached these pictures printed on adhesive foil to the outside of the glass. The passers-by began to peel off their ficticious representatives in order to either take them along or paste them on somewhere else. Kar's work for the "suburbia" exhibition held in Salzburg in 1997 also reflected the way in which the urban space conditions our behaviour.
The gesture of "Gruess Gott!" announces the encounter of two grown men over 13 windows in a passageway. Only in one window which is located halfway through the passage do the two men happily meet for their handshake. With this picture Kar addresses the barren and inhospitable situation of the long passageway, where nobody feels invited to stop for an entertaining chat.
In 1994 the artist first directed her interest towards a concern with the public space. From the very beginning she dealt with the question of how the private makes its appearance in the outside space. In the windows of a hairdresser's she presented her view of the customers' faces and hairstyles. She took her pictorial language not from the cliches of the usual advertisements, but approached individuals with her camera in order to considerately capture those details with a hint of intimacy - literally looking at hairlines - that amount to the unmistakable individuality of each person. At the Zipfer Bierhaus, a Salzburg restaurant dedicated to Austrian cuisine, she likewise installed pictures of people on the furniture that are supposed to represent a presumed typically Austrian way of life. This provided an impetus for rethinking the concept of home-country.
Irene Kar's work appears as a puzzle of varied impressions of everyday rituals which in connection with the specific location becomes a mirror of self-evident social truths.
"...pursues a conceptual line... in her work: She takes unspectacular, everyday appearances which she finds in her immediate surroundings, the place, where she lives. These fragments of reality which are usually recorded photographically are arranged by her situatively in a spatial-architectural intermediate zone, in which the borderline between the private and the public has shifted slightly.
In their processual concern with the ubiquitous average, such as e.g. the hairstyles of passers-by in the street or a section of the tourist town of Salzburg, the artist succeeds in attracting attention to seemingly unimportant phenomena and little noticed distinctions. In a critical sense she thus sharpens our perception for everyday things which do manifest socially relevant differentiations.
By a slight shift of our glance to what is 'ordinary', Kar shows us how the cliches, constraints or longings of a person, a society or a region leave their deposits on things."
Silvia Eiblmayr, on the occasion of the award of the province of Salzburg 1994