1997

Bilder

ARCHITEKTUR IV year: 1997,
ARCHITEKTUR IV
Architectural Photography
BILDER Nr. 137
in frame


"Do not try to find a definition of the city too quickly; it is much too big, there is a great chance of being mistaken." - Georges Perec

The city is an abstract set of rules, a complex aggregate state in concrete spatial formations. Comparable to models of geological layers, the urban space presents itself as a system of folds, fault-lines and sediments that have developed from historical, social, economic and political processes. The essence of the city is as general as it is particular, as opaque as it is transparent. Its visible appearance is distributed in diverse pictorial forms, but its structure largely defies a two-dimensional access. To be sure, there are innumerable planning and abstractional models of the city, but all the same the urban system defies an unambiguous explanation. The attraction of the cities which is partly found in the tension between chaos and attempted systematization, frightens and/or attracts us, motivates the vigilant mind and challenges it to deal with it. The story of the city is always accompanied by the attempt to dominate it and by its loss. The genesis of the urban field is dominated by the tendency to control the space and its inhabitants, while yet realizing that this living system cannot be controlled rationally.
From its very beginning photography has also been used as an instrument for expressing the city and facilitating our orientation in it. The broad spectrum of the urban fabric has been shown in numerous photographs in order to communicate at least pictorial clarity. The photographic approaches to this fascinating phenomenon range from classical portraits of the city to the aesthetics of the backyards, from the edges of the city to the sites of the so-called power. The theme of the city has been measured and/or catalogued at different times and under various points of view. In connection with other systems of description photography unfolds the city and communicates a cursory insight into its structure and the changes in this structure.
Sabine Bitter and Helmut Weber deal with these urban fluid dynamics in different ways. In their various projects and exhibitions they explore those dynamic systems that pervade the cities, determining their lives. They survey places and spaces by means of photography and video, either recording their inscribed mechanisms or the movement lines that can be determined there. Prototypically they always use pictorial material from airports, those crystallization centres of a condensed traffic flow that although outside the cities have increasingly taken over urban functions. In the past few years these terminals have developed into a kind of inverted urban centres that no longer function just as turn-tables for departure and arrival. Equipped with a full range of infrastructural facilities, service centres, recreational facilities and hotels (and all of these with a direct connection to the entire world), they define for many business people today their entire movement radius and perceptual horizon. The city in the background disappears from the scene or is taken in through postcards. What is lost is the immediate experience of the urban space, the system of signs from which we derive our identity that is given up at the expense of functional optimizing. Without wanting to comment on this development, Bitter/Weber deal with these new spatial and perceptual conditions, exploring the relationship between the individual and the mass and uncovering layers of the new urban situation. A characteristic feature of this concern is their terse way of dealing with these situations and their generally calm tone.
Ernst Logar deals with the theme of HongKong in a comparably direct way. He approaches this dynamic agglomeration of people and buildings by means of a camera obscura, that primitive black box which captures the surrounding space without a lense or lightmeter. With exposure times of between 15 minutes and one hour per picture he recorded the static relationships of that metropolis. These photographs dissolve the people and the flow of movement, they seem to have inhaled the different speeds and they exude a tense continuance. Hong Kong as a man-made landscape blurs into its own stage set, turning into the visible background for its proverbial activity. The dynamics of the city are represented only in its architecture and the necessary building sites and in fact our own knowledge of the situation there. Ernst Logar's photographs are mental starting points for structural travels in our minds, they do not provide dynamic information but the necessary background for a further concern with them.

Arno Ritter
AUSTAUSCHAUSSTELLUNG: FOTOGALERIE WIEN - GALERIE FOTOMANIA/ROTTERDAM year: 1997,
AUSTAUSCHAUSSTELLUNG: FOTOGALERIE WIEN - GALERIE FOTOMANIA/ROTTERDAM
Exchange Exhibition, Part 1
BILDER Nr. 136
FOTOMANIA Gallery has been in existence for 12 years and from its very beginning its main focus has been on the presentation of experimental conceptual photography, new and related media and installations. The exhibition at FOTOGALERIE WIEN also shows this preference, indirectly reflecting the exhibition policy of the FOTOMANIA Gallery and providing insights into current art photography in Holland.

Loodwicks Press Images (LPI): In 1965 Mr. Loodwicks, the former director of the famous press agency Loodwicks Press Images, met Andy Warhol in Paris. In exchange for a collection of Warhol's vintage prints the artist was promised the privilege of not having to pay copyright costs for using any LPI photographs in his own artistic work. This gift was the reason for Mr. Loodwicks' intense concern with Warhol's oeuvre and his becoming an enthusiastic collector of Warhol vintage prints. This collection has now been assembled for a presentation by Joseph L.M.Neefjes, curator of the Dutch branch of LPI.

Marjoleine Boonstra's artistic activity focusses on large-size colour photographs and documentary films. In her short film "Sa Nule" she portrays people in a refugee camp in former Yugoslavia. The film is an impressive example of her ability to present the past, somthing that no longer exists. The similarity and the joint origin of these two forms of expression by one and the same artist occur on an abstract level.

Hans Aarsman, Wout Berger, Henze Boekhout: These three artists present their work together. Their idea of describing the world might be summarized into three "rules": Merge life and photography; put the unimportant above the important; separate that which you presume to see from that which you actually see.

Paul C. Bogaers combines two or more photographs into one picture or places very diverse pictures into a constellation. In this way Bogaers tries to give his works a stronger, dynamic character. In the final analysis his work "Somnambulisms", which he will show in Vienna, is not so much concerned with formal or technical questions but with the attempt to express a(n) (un)certain approach to life.

Wyn Geleynse uses his own person in his installations to represent obsessive, constantly repeated modes of behaviour - on 16mm endless loops - which he projects on stills and into his contextual world of images. He is convinced that the real projection of a film onto another object turns into a wonderful metaphor for a "psychological projection" which also influences the "other" context of photography. Such a combination and presentation of the pictures encourages the viewer as a voyeur to share common fantasies, fears and memories.

Mels van Zutphen is a photographer and filmmaker. His photographic and cinematographic works address the connections between imitation, imagination, reproduction and knowledge and reality. He searches for a recreation of landscape and space which leads to the invention of new objects and scenes of his own universe.


Frank van der Stok
AUSTAUSCHAUSSTELLUNG: FOTOGALERIE WIEN - GALERIE FOTOMANIA/ROTTERDAM year: 1997,
AUSTAUSCHAUSSTELLUNG: FOTOGALERIE WIEN - GALERIE FOTOMANIA/ROTTERDAM
Exchange Exhibition, Part 1
BILDER Nr. 136
FOTOMANIA Gallery has been in existence for 12 years and from its very beginning its main focus has been on the presentation of experimental conceptual photography, new and related media and installations. The exhibition at FOTOGALERIE WIEN also shows this preference, indirectly reflecting the exhibition policy of the FOTOMANIA Gallery and providing insights into current art photography in Holland.

Loodwicks Press Images (LPI): In 1965 Mr. Loodwicks, the former director of the famous press agency Loodwicks Press Images, met Andy Warhol in Paris. In exchange for a collection of Warhol's vintage prints the artist was promised the privilege of not having to pay copyright costs for using any LPI photographs in his own artistic work. This gift was the reason for Mr. Loodwicks' intense concern with Warhol's oeuvre and his becoming an enthusiastic collector of Warhol vintage prints. This collection has now been assembled for a presentation by Joseph L.M.Neefjes, curator of the Dutch branch of LPI.

Marjoleine Boonstra's artistic activity focusses on large-size colour photographs and documentary films. In her short film "Sa Nule" she portrays people in a refugee camp in former Yugoslavia. The film is an impressive example of her ability to present the past, somthing that no longer exists. The similarity and the joint origin of these two forms of expression by one and the same artist occur on an abstract level.

Hans Aarsman, Wout Berger, Henze Boekhout: These three artists present their work together. Their idea of describing the world might be summarized into three "rules": Merge life and photography; put the unimportant above the important; separate that which you presume to see from that which you actually see.

Paul C. Bogaers combines two or more photographs into one picture or places very diverse pictures into a constellation. In this way Bogaers tries to give his works a stronger, dynamic character. In the final analysis his work "Somnambulisms", which he will show in Vienna, is not so much concerned with formal or technical questions but with the attempt to express a(n) (un)certain approach to life.

Wyn Geleynse uses his own person in his installations to represent obsessive, constantly repeated modes of behaviour - on 16mm endless loops - which he projects on stills and into his contextual world of images. He is convinced that the real projection of a film onto another object turns into a wonderful metaphor for a "psychological projection" which also influences the "other" context of photography. Such a combination and presentation of the pictures encourages the viewer as a voyeur to share common fantasies, fears and memories.

Mels van Zutphen is a photographer and filmmaker. His photographic and cinematographic works address the connections between imitation, imagination, reproduction and knowledge and reality. He searches for a recreation of landscape and space which leads to the invention of new objects and scenes of his own universe.


Frank van der Stok
REINER RIEDLER
ALFRED WETZELSDORFER
year: 1997,
REINER RIEDLER
ALFRED WETZELSDORFER

texts by: Mela Maresch, Reiner Riedler

BILDER Nr. 135
ALFRED WETZELSDORFER
Bad Queen, Polaroid Lovers, Turtle

An essential element of Alfred Wetzelsdorfer's artistic work is the attribution of collected fragments of images dating from different periods and dealing with different themes into a sequence of pictures. Self-portraits, media images that have been rephotographed and pictorial material from everyday life are interwoven into a narration - taken apart again - and recombined into something new. Wetzelsdorfer's photographic works which are constantly varied and expanded involve an open and lively working process. Reaching any final point is not his goal.
In his series of photographs the individual pictorial units function as sequences of memory that enter into our consciousness and disppear again. The past and present, details and panoramas, the personal and the general, distance and closeness ... are in constant interplay relativizing one another by the way in which they follow one another without transitions.

Mela Maresch


REINER RIEDLER
"Homeless - People Living in the Street"
1993-1997, b/w photographs, 30 x 40 cm each

The themes of my photographic work are mostly those that fascinate me from the outset, that capture my emotions for some reason. This is important, for otherwise I could not concern myself with them for a long time.
For me photography is a very emotional matter in any case. In my photojournalistic work it would be unimaginable at least for me personally to portray someone or some situation without establishing some contact with the people whose photo I take. I have to make sure that I have the permission of the person I portray, even if it be just a fleeting smile. That is the most difficult aspect of this kind of photography, i.e. to grasp situations, to know one's position as photographer, to do what you personally consider acceptable as far as the ethics of photography is concerned.
I try not to compromise people whose photographs I take. Photography as such is a very suitable means for representing people in an unflattering way - especially in these images of homeless people it was very difficult for me to make a selection that I could live with. Especially with this theme it would be easy to work with very drastic means. I have tried to avoid this even if I have not always been successful.
For about a year and a half during which I worked as a conscientious objector in a shelter for homeless people run by Caritas I was constantly confronted with homelessness. I had access to people whom one otherwise knows only from passsing them by in the street. And among them I have got to know a few whom I have learned to appreciate and of whom I have grown fond. For me that meant entering into a world that I had not known before and that frightened me to a certain extent but in which I have in the meantime learned to feel at ease. This contact with the people then allowed me to pursue my work as a photographer and to portray these people in their environment. Beyond my service as a conscientious objector I then worked on a report for Profil magazine in cooperation with the journalist Eva Menasse which led me to a new approach, i.e. to not portray anyone and anything indiscriminately but to approach the topic systematically. At that time my work got something like a structure.
I will continue to pursue this theme in my work as a photographer for Caritas.

ARCHITEKTUR III year: 1997,
ARCHITEKTUR III
architectural photography
texts by: Arno Ritter

BILDER Nr. 134
Dreams of Spaces

"Cities are like dreams: anything imaginable can be dreamt, but the unexpected dream is also a rebus containing a wish or its reverse, a fear. Like dreams, cities are built upon wishes and fears, even if the thread of their narrative is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceptive and each thing hides something else." Italo Calvino


Photography not only depicts, but it also visualizes. Comparable to other art media it creates worlds of images beyond the real situations, thus functioning as a means of transportation for travels into strange interior countries. Although any documentary photograph represents a manifestation of a subjective view of the world and thus an outer geography, photography may also be an instrument to explore our inner worlds of dreams. In contrast to the computer-generated images, classical photography does not create any virtual realities, but fixes arranged or constructed models of real situations. The precondition for this, however, is the three-dimensional space that can be altered by means of photographic processes but in the final analysis is always depicted. When looked at in this way, any picture thus produced has a model in realty, a three-dimensional pendant. To be sure, these photographic arrangements usually depict situations that are possible in reality, but in the final analysis they say more about the author's personality structure or his dream worlds than about the state of the visible world.
Although they were not created while travelling, the photographs by Thierry Urbain and the Gegenlicht Group (Jochen Brauner & Werner Sedivy) give the impression of having been made in foreign countries or unknown continents. While Urbain's photographs are based on spatial typologies that seem to be familiar from the Near East and North Africa, the Gegenlicht group takes up architectural elements that are borrowed from the realm of fantasy worlds and resemble the variety of shapes of anonymous building. What links the two groups of works is their concern with model spaces, with staged three-dimensional dispositions and hence the author's own individual architectural mythologies. While Thierry Urbain creates austere photographic compositions in a rational and technically precise manner, for Jochen Brauner and Werner Sedivy the camera serves as an instrument to fix their dream-like and to some extent playful spatial concepts. While the building of models is calculated according to precise conditions and the use of light and shadow is precisely calculated in Urbain's work, the miniature architectures by Gegenlicht are made spontaneously and without a specific plan. In them the authors' inside is turned towards the outside and the models are staged by primitive means. The spatial narratives of Gegenlicht do not, however, end with a photograph of the resultant building, but find their continuation in the invisible stories which they invent to go with the structures. For to them each building is inhabited by a specific character, a ficticious person who is responsible for the outer form. Their buildings are inhabited by fairy-tale creatures, fantasy figures with human traits, that happened to be absent at the time the photograph was taken. Gegenlicht create spaces for their dreams and in their two groups of works narrate stories of possible worlds, thus transcending the narrowness of the real conditions. Without any tendency towards technical perfection they communicate their individual mythologies that originated in their joint travels to their respective inner territories.
In contrast to this, Thierry Urbain tells stories of abandoned cities. His pictures fix ideal states devoid of human beings that do not clamour for life but are based on pure geometry. In their sharpness and hardness they communicate the impression that no individual must enter or use this space. The atmosphere of the photographs exudes a frightening quietness. The presence of the spatial phenomena is defined by the absence of the human aspect, even though we know that their conditions of origin are connected to the work of human hands. Comparable to de Chirico's metaphysical paintings they present a perfection of spatial relationships that make do without visible human traces. His photographed rooms live by themselves and need only the spectator's eyes rather than any inhabitants. What they tell us are not everyday stories but myths, thus leaving ample space for abstract thinking.


Arno Ritter
FOTOKUNST AUS LETTLAND year: 1997,
FOTOKUNST AUS LETTLAND
texts by: H.H. Capor, Vilnis Auzins

BILDER Nr. 133
Latvian Photography (1830-1996)

Soon after the official introduction of photography in Paris in 1839 it was also introduced in Latvia. The year 1850 is considered the beginning of photography in Latvia, since the earliest daguerrotype in our possession dates to 1850.
The history of photography in Latvia may be divided into five periods: the 2nd half of the 19th century/ the first two decades of the 20th century until independence from Czarist Russia in 1919/ the period of Latvia's independence from 1919 until World War II/ the 50 years of Soviet occupation/ the time from achieving independence in 1991 to the present.
The Latvians, who speak a language related to Sanskrit, are proud of their ethnic heritage and cultural traditions which go back several millenia. During innumerable occupations - German, Polish, Danish, Swedish and - most destructive - Russian, a core of Latvian ethnic uniqueness survived and expressed itself in whatever way possible. One of these possibilities has been photography.

Period 1 is represented by daguerrotypes, ambrotypes and ferrotypes in the possession of the museum. They were made by travelling photographers, most of them of German nationality, some of whom established permanent studios in Riga. These photographs are excellent records and credible sources of information on the lifestyle of the middle class at the time. As anywhere else in the world, the possession of photographs was a matter of prestige and a luxury which the middle class could afford. An analysis of these pictures shows that the choice of subject matter, the composition, the technical possibilities and the marketing aspect was comparable to that of other European countries.
Period 2: The turn of the century marked the beginning of the genuinely "Latvian" photography when numerous Latvian photographers founded their own companies. About twenty photographers of the time left us a large number of pictures: a heritage which documents both local history and the progress of the medium of photography. One important personality is the photographer Martins Buclers, who already at the beginning of the century looked at photography in a wider cultural context. He underpinned his theories by their practical application, gathered around him people with a shared interest in photography and laid the foundation for the first Latvian photography association. He translated technical literature from numerous European languages into Latvian and published the first Lavian photographic journal STARI ("Rays") in 1906.
Period 3: The photographers during the period of Latvian independence until World War II deserve credit for the major documentary contribution to the preservation of Latvian culture. Photography became accessible to a large number of people, thus encouraging talented and individualistic personalities to pursue photography as an art. Avant-garde ideas (Constructivism, Surrealism) that were popular in the neighbouring countries did not fascinate the Latvian photographers, apart from a few who had lived abroad for some time (such as Carl Bauls). The development of photography as an art medium and the successful beginning of a photographic industry in Latvia were interrupted by World War II (thus e.g. the popular "Minox" camera was produced in the state-owned factory VEF in Riga since 1937).
Period 4 : We use the term "Socialist photography" for the period after the historic changes of 1940 and the loss of Latvian independence. Latvian photography during 50 years of Soviet occupation cannot be described in a few sentences. The photography of the 50s and 60s is unique with regard to the abundance and absurdity of its staging. The early years are represented by Janis Gleizds, Leonid Tugalev, Vilhelm Mihailovsky and Egon Spuris, each of them with his own individualistic style. Western aesthetic concepts penetrated the iron curtain only slowly and it was not until 1960 that Latvian photographers became aware of them. The Soviet regime, which always distrusted photography as a medium of self-realization that was difficult to control, originally prohibited all private photography. Later an attempt was made to control it through photography clubs. However, the result was the exact opposite: it stimulated the spirit of resistance and the talent of creative personalities. They used the seemingly innocuous symbols of "reality" defined by the government in order to communicate hidden messages, thus becoming actors in a THEATRE OF THE ARTS. The prescription of a formal canon caused the artists to trade motivation for necessity. Many remarkable works would not have been created without this challenge. In the mid-70s a group of young people working for the Ethnographic Open Air Museum in Riga used their permitted research to visit restricted areas of Latvia with the aim of documenting the "true achievements of Socialism". The photographs by Modris Rubenis, Vitauts Mihalovski, Vilnis Auzins, Ugis Niedre and others illustrate this new movement.
Latvian photographers who at first only challenged other clubs in the Soviet Union and usually won, gradually achieved the reputation of being the best photographers in the Soviet Union. The loosening of controls began in earnest when a loophole was discovered in the Iron Curtain in terms of an international organization named FIAP (Federation Internationale d'Art Photographique). Due to their by then prominent status in the Soviet Union, Latvian photographers were sent to international amateur exhibitions as representatives of the high cultural level of the Soviet Union.
The winning of prestigious awards such as the "Silver Bowl" of the French president Francois Mitterand blinded Moscow's eyes even more so that Moscow did not see the ethnic footprints which Latvian photographers left behind. Later, when the international recognition of Latvia's independence was at stake this was a critical issue. Actually it was a unique challenge for photography.
The 1980s brought along a wide variety of young photographers as well as the introduction of new styles and techniques. Of particular significance was the ethical attitude of the popular Latvian photographer Egon Spuris, who worked in a simplified style that had not been seen in Latvia before. This style was taken up and developed further by Andrejs Grants, Gvido Kajons and Inta Ruka.
At the end of the 80s Andrejs Grants, Valts Aivars Liepins, Raitis Purins, Uldis Briedis, Inta Ruka, Martins Zelmenis and many other Latvian photographers participated in international exhibitions. Together with Lithuanian and Estonian photographers they created the concept of "Baltic photography" in contrast to "Soviet photography". Talented photographers from other countries were likewise active in Latvia; we might mention especially Vilhelm Mihailovsky and Leonid Tugalev.
Period 5: And what about today? Any thematic restrictions have been lifted. Old challenges have evaporated and photographic material has become more easily accessible. Ideals are being questioned. Instead of political dangers there are now business groups. Serious new initiatives form only very slowly. There is now a general tendency to replace the kitsch sponsored by the Soviet Union with "modern" Western advertising kitsch. Photography thrives particularly in the form of photojournalism, but art photography is also very strongly represented. Just as in the West, photography as art does not offer a sufficient economic basis for one's livelihood, although more than twenty brilliant professional photographers create pictures of a high artistic standard that compete with paintings and works of graphic art.
There has recently been a tendency in photographic art to combine photograohs with graphic art and painting to a "media mix". Artists who represent this movement and have exhibited such works in the past two or three years are Ina Sture, Janis Zigurs, Martins Krumins, Artis Saulits-Koknevics, Uldis Balga, Ivars Avotins and Aldis Dublans. After the restoration of Latvia's independence new perspectives opened up for photographers. The Latvian Museum of Photography and the Association of Professional Latvian Photographers were founded. A large number of photographers participate in exhibitions and international projects, including activities sponsored by the Latvian National Commission of UNESCO.

Vilnis Auzins, Director of the Latvian Museum of Photography

ARCHITEKTUR II year: 1997,
ARCHITEKTUR II
architectural photography
texts by: Arno Ritter

BILDER Nr. 132
The Absence of Motion

"I have discovered that all the woes of this world stem from the single fact that people cannot stay put in their rooms." - Blaise Pascal

Architectural photography fixes static relationships and at first sight seems to exclude the element of motion. Motion is not depicted but due to the specific technical possibilities of the medium it may be transformed into a metaphor by symbolically capturing the motion of the object through blurring or dramatizing the appearance of a building by means of a dynamic pictorial composition. Serial and conceptual photography both operate with the temporal aspect by either taking a number of individual pictures along a temporal axis, thus showing various forms of change, or else by introducing a cinematographic element into photography by presenting different viewpoints.

Margherita Spiluttini deals with the phenomenon of motion in yet another way by addressing certain aspects of this dynamic principle. Although it is an element in all photography, Spiluttini's pictures particularly document the absence of motion. They do not show this directly but present us with locations into which motion has entered or which make motion possible. Her photographs of buildings and landscapes visualize stories and processes on a symbolic level. Her conceptual concern is not the staging and dramaturgical setting of motion, but instead the camery serves as her instrument to address those phenomena and consequences that are caused by the need for motion and the will to shape one's own environment.
Spiluttini's photographs may be subdivided into three groups in terms of their content. The first group documents the reshaping of nature by man, making clear how these interventions are subject to the principle of mobility. Such measures, and that can hardly be overlooked, have led to the creation of fascinating buildings and entirely new scenic situations not devoid of a certain aesthetics. The inherent recklessness and tendency towards monumentality impress us but they also make us feel ambivalent on the basis of our present-day knowledge. Another group of Spiluttini's photographs deals with spaces devoted to sports without, however, actually showing the physical activity. These are spaces awaiting their utilization and manifesting traces of past and future motion. They exude a certain calm even though they are devoted to its opposite. The third group comprises photographs of quarries and gravel pits that may be read as testimonies of a revaluation of nature as civilization. Matter is quarried, moved and processed and hence the landscape is altered so that buildings can be erected elsewhere. As part of this process negative shapes are created in nature which are a virtual representation of aspects of man's cultural history.
Spillutini's photographs have been created either as commissioned works or out of a mere fascination with the subject matter and without any conceptual claim. It was only in retrospect and in the context of arranging an exhibition that a previously relatively unconsciously controlled activity crystallized into a concept and a categorization of the photographs. The selection of the pictures as well as the history of the origin of the photographs are determined by Spiluttini's emotional approach to the theme: on the one hand her relationship to sports which is ambivalent and on the other hand the fact that the aspect of motion and travelling is of particular importance in her profession. In Spiluttini's travels to the buildings she wants to photograph the car becomes a kind of dwelling for her in which she moves protectedly through often unfamiliar territory. The simultaneous presence of the surrounding landscape and the distance to it create that mental space in which a special awareness of life arises that fluctuates between tension and relaxation, curiosity and fear, liberation from everyday life and helplessness vis-a-vis other conditions. Embedded in this subjectively experienced tension, Spiluttini discovers buildings and spatial situations that fascinate her and eventually motivate her to stop and take photographs. The camera becomes an instrument for bridging distances, unconsciously or purposefully it is employed to transcend one's own boundaries and allow the approach to the disquietingly unfamiliar. In this sense Margherita Spiluttini's photographs are snapshots of a motion whose stories and deeper meanings lie beyond the picture plane.

Arno Ritter
WALTER K.MIRTL
L'UBO STACHO
year: 1997,
WALTER K.MIRTL
L'UBO STACHO

texts by: Walter K. Mirtl, Alena Vrbanová

BILDER Nr. 131
WALTER K.MIRTL

Im Raum stehen fünf Monitore, jeder zeigt, einem Portraitfoto gleich, das unbewegte Bild einer Person. Einzig die immer wiederkehrende Bewegung der Augenlider, der sich nahezu in absoluter Ruhe befindlichen Modelle, machen dem Betrachter den kontinuierlichen Zeitablauf einer Videoaufnahme erkennbar. Nicht Film, wo die Regie dem Zuseher die zeitliche Betrachtungsmöglichkeit vorgibt, auch kein Bild in dem Zeitfluß nicht möglich ist, sondern ein Grenzbereich zwischen den Medien soll hier als Grundlage einer ästhetischen Konzeption dienen.........

Walter K. Mirtl


L´UBO STACH
L’ubo Stacho – Anmerkungen zum aktuellen Schaffen

Zu den ausdruckstärksten Persönlichkeiten der gegenwärtigen künstlerischen Szene der Slowakei gehört der Fotograf L’ubo Stacho. In seinem Schaffen kann man von Anfang an konzeptuelle Ausdrucksmittel und Elemente erkennen. Bereits in seinem Frühwerk, das thematisch dem Bereich der sozialen Dokumentation zuzuordnen ist, äußert sich das Bemühen des Autors, den spezifischen Widerspruch in den bildnerischen, ikonografischen Möglichkeiten, d. h. bestimmte Grenzen der Fotografie, aufzuheben, wobei ein Bedürfnis nach einer grenzüberschreitenden künstlerischen Aussage zutage tritt. Dieses Moment, doch vor allem die innere Ausrichtung des Autors, führte ihn zum Thema der Zeitlichkeit als ein Verhältnis zwischen Vergänglichkeit und Ewigkeit. Durch sein fotografisches, aber auch mixmediales Werk Ende der 80er und Anfang der 90er Jahre, geriet Stacho in die Sphäre der spirituellen Kunst. Eine Besonderheit seiner Aussage war das Thema Ausstrahlung – innerer Energien des Menschen, der Dinge und Erscheinungen des Seins und ihrer Interaktion, mit welcher der Autor die innersten Dimensionen des menschlichen Seins und zugleich seine Verwundbarkeit festhalten konnte. Ausgedrückt hat er dies mittels verschiedener Aktions- und Installationsprojekten. Nach einigen Erfahrungen mit Ready-Mades, kehrte er wieder zu seinem Ausgangspunkt zurück – zur Fotografie. Er begreift sie als ein traditionelles, materielles und visuelles Auffangen von Energien.
In den 90er Jahren inspiriert ihn das Motiv der Turiner Leinwand mit dem Abdruck des Gesichtes Christi und ab 1993 beginnt er an einem breitkonzipierten Zyklus von Fotoleinwänden zu arbeiten. Die ersten entstehen mittels einer pseudografischen oder eigenen Technik – der fotografischen Monotypie, wobei der Autor die angefeuchtete Fotografie auf die Fläche einer weißen Leinwand wirken läßt. Die Werke sind auf dem Prinzip eines zweifachen Einfangens, bzw. einer Weiterentwicklung von Energien aufgebaut. Dies gilt für den Zyklus, das Vermächtnis der Hl. Veronika, der durch eine fototechnische Übertragung auf Leinwand geschaffen wurde. Der Autor weist auf die geistigen Werte eines jeden Menschen und der Notwendigkeit einer Reinigung und Erneuerung der wechselseitigen menschlichen Verständigung hin.
Zur gleichen Zeit bis 1993 porträtierte Stacho mit Hingabe auch Kinder, die vor dem ersten ernsten Augenblick des christlichen Lebens nach der Taufe stehen – der Erstkommunion. Der Autor arbeitet hier wieder auf Grundlage formaler, realistischer, keineswegs stilisierter Fotodyptichen. Die kurze, bündige Bezeichnung des Zyklus lautet „Davor-Danach“. Die Intensität im Ausdruck und Inhalt dieser Arbeiten liegt in ihrer spirituellen Fragestellung. In ihnen bietet der Autor Raum zum Nachdenken, aktualisiert die Frage nach dem Sinn der Religion für das diesseitige Leben des Menschen und auch über den Sinn des Traditionalismus der Religiosität. Den Augenblick der ersten offiziellen Annahme der Religion zeigt der Autor durch die Strenge der formalen Attribute des Aktes selbst. Er konzentriert sich darauf, den Ausdruck des Gesichtes, der Augen, der geistigen Ausstrahlung der Kinder, ihre Identität und Beseeltheit, ihre Euphorie und Ernsthaftigkeit festzuhalten. Der Zyklus ist eigentlich eine Herausforderung gegen alles profanisierte, konservative und schematisierte der Gottesgläubigkeit in unserem alltäglichen Leben.
In diesem Zyklus bringt Stacho eine weitere thematische Dimension in sein spirituell ausgerichtetes Schaffen. Unter allen Arbeiten ist diese die realistischeste, strengste und wirkt vor allem durch das Thema Kinder – durch ihre apriore Reinheit, aber auch Unreife, der Möglichkeit manipuliert zu werden. In diesem Fall freilich für das Höchste im menschlichen Sein.

Alena Vrbanová

FRAUKE HÄNKE & CLAUS KIENLE
MICHAELA KROBS
year: 1997,
FRAUKE HÄNKE & CLAUS KIENLE
MICHAELA KROBS

texts by: Klaus, Dr. Klemp, Emma Delp

BILDER Nr. 130
FRAUKE HÄNKE & CLAUS KIENLE
Fallenstellerei

„When I came home I expected a surprise and there was no surprise for me, so, of course, I was surprised.“
Diese als paradox formulierte Feststellung über Erwartung, Überraschung und Enttäuschung, ca. 1944 von Ludwig Wittgenstein in seinen Vermischten Bemerkungen notiert, kann als roter Faden für das Verständnis des fotografischen Werkes von Frauke Hänke und Claus Kienle dienen. Ihre künstlerische Arbeit besteht im Entdecken und Sichtbarmachen des schon Vorhandenen. Doch wer sich vorschnell abwendet, übersieht das häufig versteckt ausliegende Fangseil, das den Betrachter auf eine Frage, einen Zweifel, einen Moment der Überraschung oder des Wiedererkennens stößt.
Das Tryptichon „Dolomiti“ (1996) von Frauke Hänke erzählt von dem jedem vertrauten Wunsch, Urlaubserlebnis und Landschaftsereignis zu konservieren und zu erhöhen. Das Alpenglühen wird zum Altarthema. Durch das Fortschreiten der Industrialisierung ist die Natur zunehmend aus der Landschaft verschwunden. Die Sehnsucht nach Ferne und Fremde blieb jedoch. Die Zahl der Fernreisen ist hiefür nur ein Indiz. Nach und nach bevölkerte sich auch das schöne Heim mit Haustier und Topfpflanze – die Natur im gezähmten handhabbaren Bonsaiformat. Die nahe und ferne Erlebniswelt des Städters wird als Bildtrophäe dokumentiert oder in Form von Stellvertretern dem häuslichen Ambiente gleich einverleibt. Tiere als beliebtes Motiv für Hobby-Fotografen werden in Claus Kienles Serie „Amateur“ (1996) kombiniert mit technischen Handlungsanweisungen. Texte lügen nicht – Vorsicht, dieser Glauben kann in die Irre führen. Gebrauchsanleitungen können alles sein zwischen funktionierender Anleitung, angewandtem Alltagsdadaismus und Fiktion, die dem Gutgläubigen trotzdem Kauf- oder Handlungsanreiz ist. Statt Erkenntnis zu vermitteln, porträtieren die scheinbar harmlosen Tierbilder eher die Arglosigkeit der technisch Rat Suchenden Amateure.
„Drücken Sie diesen Knopf, die Macht ist an, sonst ist die Macht ab“, charak-terisiert treffend das Powerplay zwischen Mensch und Maschine. Diese „poesie pure“ ist keine Anweisung für den Fotoamateur, sondern der taiwanesische Versuch, die Bedeutung einer Stereoanlage zu erklären.
Die Bildweiten von Frauke Hänke und Claus Kienle dokumentieren Sehnsüchte sowie ihre Widersprüche. Die in ihren Werken gestellten Fallen zwingen die Betrachter ihre Wahrnehmungsmuster zu überprüfen. Daraus resultiert die Erkenntnis, daß auch in der Fotografie Sichtweisen auf die Wirklichkeit immer konstruiert sind. Ceci est plus que réalité.

Emma Delp

MICHAELA KROBS
Zeichnungen nach der Fotografie

Nicht erst seit der jüngsten Diskussion um das Internet gibt es den Streit ums Bild, der je nach Sichtweise der Beteiligten in Euphorie oder Ächtung ausschlagen kann. Manches erinnert dabei auch heute noch an den Ikonoklasmus des 8. Jahrhunderts, als der byzantinische Kaiser Leo III. ein Bilderverbot für das christliche Europa verhing, was von der klugen Kaiserin Irene wenige Jahrzehnte später wieder aufgehoben wurde. Dieses wiederum hielt protestantische Fanatiker im 16. Jahrhundert nicht davon ab, Luthers Absage an das Bild zum Vorwand für einen radikalen Bildersturm auf die Kirchenbauten der refor-mierten Länder zu nehmen.
Der Ikonoklasmus unseres Jahrhunderts scheint sich nun darin zu generieren, dem Bilde durch das Bild, besser gesagt durch eine Unzahl von Bildern den Garaus zu machen. Zerzappte Fernsehbildschirme oder die in ihrem ganzen Umfang noch im Wartestand kauernden Internet-Terminals und eine noch nie gekannte Flut von Zeitungen und Magazinen erzeugen Dank der Erfindung der Fotografie und ihrer neuen digitalen Mobilität Bilder bis zum Zustand des weißen Rauschens, bis zum Stadium des visuellen Overkills.
Die Bilder von Michaela Krobs bilden dagegen eine Art von „Fotografie rückwärts“. Dem fotografischen Schnellschuß stellt sie eine in manischer Detailarbeit verfaßte, aber auf den ersten Blick identische Zeichnung daneben. Mit Akribie und zeichnerischer Perfektion wiederholt sie ein einziges Mal das zuvor schon tausendfach reproduzierte Abbild. Fotografie und Zeichnung treten dabei für den Betrachter in eine Konkurrenz, denn zunächst rätselt man, was denn nun fotografisches Vorbild und was zeichnerisches Nachbild ist. Bedingt durch das klein gewählte Format, geht der Betrachter näher heran und wird zum Voyeur des Unterschieds. Da diese Unterschiede aber nur in winzigen Details stattfinden, fällt der Blick vom Inhalt auf die Struktur. Wie in einem Vexierbild springt das Auge zwischen scheinbar Identischem und Gleichem, interessiert sich der Betrachter zwangsläufig für die Sättigung einer Fläche oder für die Modulation einer Linie. Diese veristisch anmutende Kunst wird so auch zur Auseinandersetzung mit der Konkretion bildnerischer Elemente.
Und doch verlieren die Sujets dieser Bilder nie ihren motivischen Reiz. Das vom Auge durchforstete Bild offenbart die Schönheit einer Landschaft, eines Menschen oder eines possierlichen Tieres. Durch Drehungen und Spiegelungen entstehen neue Bilder aus der gekoppelten Foto- und Zeichnungsreproduktion, die eine abstrakte und neue Eigenwelt erzeugen und die ihre eigene Logik und Gesetzmäßigkeit entwickeln. Das Spiel aus Form und Anmutung ist stets präsent.
Diese neuen Bilder von Michaela Krobs entstehen aus einem Konzept der Wahrnehmungsaneignung, das sich der Faszination des Gegenständlichen nicht verschließt und das die Emotion nicht aus-, sondern einblendet. So artikuliert sich in diesen künstlerischen Arbeiten ein romantischer Konzeptismus, der Caspar David Friedrich akzeptiert, ohne Alan Kaprow zu verleugnen.

Dr. Klaus Klemp, Leiter der städt. Galerie im Karmeliterkloster, Frankfurt a.M.

ARCHITEKTUR I year: 1997,
ARCHITEKTUR I
texts by: Arno Ritter

BILDER Nr. 129
Bruchstücke von Geschichte

Das Verhältnis von Architektur und Fotografie ist so alt wie die Geschichte des Lichtbildes selbst. Die erste fotografische Abbildung von Nicéphore Niépce fixierte den Blick aus seinem Atelierfenster und stellt die Dachlandschaft seines Wohnortes in Gras/St. Loup de Varenne dar. Wegen der langen Belichtungszeiten zu Beginn der Fotografie, boten sich die statischen Gebilde aus Ziegel, Stein und Putz als ideale Objekte für das neue Mediums an und führten dazu, daß auf den ersten Fotografien urbaner Situationen keine Menschen zu finden sind. Ihre Existenz verschwand regelrecht im Objektiv oder drückte sich nur als Schatten bzw. als Spur im Bild ab. Die Zeit war technisch noch nicht reif für den alles entscheidenden Augenblick und das Selbstverständnis der Fotografen noch auf Dauer orientiert. Sie wollten dokumentieren, die Spuren der Zeit und der Vergänglichkeit festhalten, vor allem aber als Archivare des objektiven Blicks dienen. Von Anfang an machten es sich die Fotografen zur Aufgabe, eine versinkende Welt aufzuzeichnen und sie vor dem Vergessen zu retten.
Damit setzte eine Dynamik des Blicks ein, die alles zu sehen versuchte und das Kameraauge auch nicht vor sogenannten häßlichen Dingen verschließen ließ. Die Fotografie entdeckte immer wieder neue Sujets und ästhetisierte damit die unterschiedlichsten Erscheinungen von Welt. In letzter Konsequenz wurde alles gleichwertig, weil im eigentlichen Sinne fotografierwürdig. Das Sehen wurde mit Hilfe der Fotografie zu einer Sammeltätigkeit und die Realität zu einer Ansammlung von Fundstücken.

In der Tradition des Fotografen als Archivar, dokumentiert Ralf Hoedt urbane Randzonen verschiedenster mitteleuropäischer Städte, die im Zeitraum von 1950 bis 1970 entstanden sind. Die Titel der Fotos verstärken noch die sammelnde Tätigkeit von Hoedt, da sie ähnlich Archivcodes zusammengesetzt und schematisiert sind: Nummer des Kontaktbogens, Bildnummer, Emulsionszahl, Datum und Ort liefern als Unterschrift reine Fakten und keine subjektive Interpretation. Die Strenge dieser Ordnung setzt sich auch in der Wahl der Ausleuchtung fort, die durchgängig die Bilder bestimmt. Es ist ein neutrales, schattenloses und diffuses Licht, das die Bauten umfängt und sie gleichsam zu Modellen ihrer selbst werden läßt. Die Stimmung der Bilder imaginiert Öde und Verlassenheit, nur wenige Menschen bevölkern jene peripheren Ensembles, auch wenn ihre Spuren allgegenwärtig sind. Fast durchgängig sind es Fotos von Orten ohne spezifischem bzw. auch mit häßlichem Charakter, es sind Dokumente von Räumen, die eigentlich als Leerräume zu bezeichnen wären, würden sie nicht benutzt werden. Dieser Eindruck wird von Hoedt noch dadurch verstärkt, indem er seinen Blick bewußt auf die Schnittstellen von bebauten und freigehaltenen Flächen richtet, ihn in den Zwischenraum fokussiert. Gerade in dem von ihm fotografisch dokumentierten Spannungsfeld, das sich zwischen den definierten Kubaturen und den begrünten oder auch verkehrstechnisch erschlossenen Flächen aufspannt, entdeckt er jene Problemzonen moderner Stadtplanung, die das Erscheinungsbild zahlreicher urbaner Gebiete prägt. Auch wenn Hoedt mit seinen Fotografien nicht eine Polemik gegen moderne Stadtgestaltung bebildern will, macht er dennoch jene gedanklichen Versäumnisse sichtbar, die zur Kritik an ihr geführt haben. Auf einer anderen Ebene dokumentieren die selben Fotos das Pathos bzw. die Zukunftsgläubigkeit jener Zeit und verdeutlichen jenes dialektische Prinzip von Geschichte, dem zu entrinnen schwer fällt.

In gerade dieses Spannunsgfeld sticht Ute Döring mit ihren Bildern. Mit der monumentalen Anlage eines Seebades für 20.000 Menschen konfrontiert, begann sie konsequent diesen Ort über Jahre hinweg fotografisch zu erschließen. Die teilweise sechsgeschossige Baufront, die sich über fünf Kilometer entlang der Ostseeküste erstrecken sollte, wurde 1936 bis 1939 nach Plänen von Clemens Klotz gebaut und war als das größte Seebad der Welt gedacht. Von der Partei zentral gesteuert, sollten die Menschen in ihrem Urlaub nach einem ideologischen Raster für die kommenden Aufgaben erholt und gestählt werden. Ganz in diesem Sinne wurde der umfangreiche Gebäudekomplex als Zweckbau für den Massentourismus entworfen, der nach sachlich-modernen und funktionalen Kriterien entwickelt wurde. Mit Ausbruch des Krieges wurde der Bau des nationalsozialistischen Prestigeobjekts eingestellt und die Anlage nach 1945 von der Deutschen Volksarmee übernommen. Diese sprengte auf der einen Seite Teile der Anlage bzw. adaptierte Bereiche der vorhandenen Struktur und nutzte sie bis zur sogenannten Wende als Ausbildungsstätte und Erholungsheim. Mit ihrem Auszug implotierte der Komplex auf einer symbolischen Ebene und wurde als Monument bzw. Denkmal sichtbar. Die Geschichte zweier totalitärer Regime klebte an dem Ort und machte den Umgang, vor allem auch aufgrund der Größe, komplex. Die Bilder von Ute Döring dokumentieren auf der einen Seite den derzeitigen Zustand der Anlage, zeigen deren Verfall und Überformung, vermitteln aber andererseits eine gewisse Irritation, gepaart mit Faszination gegenüber diesem Phänomen. Zwar nagt der Zahn der Zeit an der baulichen Erscheinung und erzeugt jene melancholische Ruinenästhetik – die ein fixer Bestandteil des Entwurfsgedanke in der NS-Architektur war –, doch steckt hinter diesem Schein die Struktur des nationalsozialistischen Regimes. Diese zu zeigen versagt die Fotografie, weswegen der Raum der Schrift von Ute Döring geöffnet wird.
Arno Ritter

WERKSCHAU II - MANFRED WILLMANN year: 1997,
WERKSCHAU II - MANFRED WILLMANN
Arbeiten von 1971 - 1996
texts by: Manfred Willmann

BILDER Nr. 128
. . . Der Kleiderbügel könnte auch die Liebe sein
die Schellen könnten auch die Blumen sein
die Hose könnte ein Stuhl sein
die Stiefel könnten durch Scheiße ersetzt werden.

Mein Thema ist der Mensch und sein Leben, die Natur. Manchmal arbeite ich an allem gleichzeitig, manchmal an einem Thema genauer: Der physischen Existenz besonders nahe kommen. Der Verweis auf die Natur kann nicht drastisch genug sein, um ihre Sensibilität (Vergänglichkeit) zu zeigen. Auch ich muß mich vor meiner Verletzbarkeit schützen.
Jede Zeit kennt ihre Grenzen des Sagbaren. Um an die Grenze des Sagbaren zu gelangen, muß man die Absicht haben, es zu tun. Den Schmerz und das Glück dieser Welt vor Augen und im Herzen haben, um es sagen zu können, Gefühle für die Dinge zu entwickeln, sie kontrolliert und genau zu äußern. Die Kontrolle muß ich noch verlieren; über die im Augenblick schon akzeptierten Bilder hinauskommen. Dem Zeitgefühl voraus sein. Die Dinge noch schöner zeigen und noch häßlicher vielleicht. Sprechen über die Dinge, die das Leben wirklich ausmachen: das Wachsen, das Blühen, die Frucht, die Kälte, die Liebe; töten und getötet werden; sich selbst töten können; überall hinschauen können. Und nur „ja keine langweiligen Geschichten von glorreichen Tagen“ erzählen.
Mein Leben ist das eines Beobachters der Oberfläche des Vergänglichen. Ist an der Oberfläche etwas zu sehen, dann genügt es mir. Das Blau des Himmels, der schmutzige Schnee im Winter, die Tränen auf einer Wange. Etwas auf meine Art sagen zu wollen. Der Himmel, der Winter, die Tränen sind Beispiele dafür, etwas sagen zu müssen; etwas, wofür es sich lohnt, eine Form zu suchen, nachzudenken über das Darzustellende, und vom Ergebnis etwas zu lernen . . .
Manfred Willmann, aus: 1. Münchner Fotosymposion, Lenbachhaus, München, 1985