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Group Exhibition with Andreas Koch, Simon Menner, Veronika Witte, Elmar Haardt, Petra Karadimas, Wil van Iersel, Mirko Zander, Richard Schuetz, Bernd Kleinheisterkamp, Juliane Duda and Marc Raeder
Selbstausloeser (Selftimer)
September 6 - October 11, 2008

Friday, September 5, 7-10pm


For the exhibition ‚Selbstausloeser (Selftimer)’ a number of photographers and artists were invited to contribute a self portrait. However, a recognizable likeness cannot easily be found in the exhibition.
Andreas Koch’s portrait, for example, shows 4 young men, so that the viewer is left to ponder who the artist is. All 4 carry the name Andreas Koch, which is very common in Germany. On top of everything else, they are shown caught in odd positions. Heroic self-representation somehow looks different.

As opposed to Andreas Koch, Mirko Zander appears with a gesture of power. He is carrying a semi-automatic weapon, yet doesn’t seem completely convincing in his role as terrorist. In a way, his selfportrait can be seen as a reaction to his series ‚Security Officers’ from 2003, where he photographed a number of security officers in front of official sites in Berlin.

The dutch artist Wil van Iersel enacts a roleplay of a different kind. He represents himself in body fragments, that seem to be taken out of a trickery chest and that carry a precarious balance. Here, identity is constructed playfully and for the moment.
Veronika Witte is approaching questions about self-perception with a similar sense of playful earnestness. She had her portrait reconstructed by the police. However, questions as to what identity is and when the moment of self-identification sets in are difficult to answer, even from the official side.

The subject of visual recognition also concerns Richard Schuetz. His image is representative at first glance, but taken out of context in such a way, that one doesn’t know in a concrete sort of way what exactly it is one is seeing.

In Petra Karadimas case the image context can be clearly made out. Yet, the meaning remains ambivalent. By means of reflections, the image is constructed in such a way, that there is no clear fore- or background, so that the overall spatial context gains significance.

Image context is also important for Elmar Haardt, although he uses it in a more concrete way. He is interested in representing people in their own living environments. As a result, his contribution shows him in a room, that he has rented for the duration of his current project.
As opposed to Elmar Haardt, Bernd Kleinheisterkamp represents himself not in his natural surroundings, but as part of a still life. Apart from the usual objects of a Vanitas scene, however, there are also more unusual props: a table fan, a can of beer, and -not least of all- the seemingly disembodied head of the artist.

At first sight, Simon Menner’s contribution to the exhibition doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the theme of self-portraiture. Only the image title ‚Shooter under Pine Tree with Curved Branch’ reveals that there is a shooter hiding in the image, who is camouflaged so well, that he seems to  disappear as part of his surroundings.
Juliane Duda even goes one step further and disappears behind her work. She generates a distorted image of the exhibition, in which her image is seen as an empty place, but taking its place at the opening of the exhibition. In her ‚Portrait of the Artist as Participant of an Exhibition’ she reflects her presence in the specific context of her participation in this particular event.

As initially stated, the artists in this exhibition are concerned neither with visual recognizability nor with a desire to appear in a particularly positive light. Instead, the artists investigate a number of interesting questions, that are based on critical self-perception and a search for identity.