berg19 space for photography


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Bernd Kleinheisterkamp
April 24 - May, 2010

Friday, April 23, 7-10pm


Empty bottles, dishes on a sink, withered flowers, a plastic bag, banana peels and other garbage on a plate – the photographs of Bernd Kleinheisterkamp (born 1973) depict things that don’t seem to be worth a second look in everyday life, from the banal to the ugly. At berg19 space for photography, under the title “Stills and Things“, the artist shows a selection from his still life series, which he has been working on since 2007.

Through photography the “still” things are not only endowed with a singular beauty and sculptural grace, also the inherent spectrum of possible citations and references seems large: from an apparent vanitas-symbolism through a striking resemblance to the painted vessels of Giorgio Morandi. The motifs both challenge the authenticity and credibility of the naturalness of the represented arrangements, all the while the observer may be inclined to decipher actions, that might have taken place, based on the things “left behind”.

The “stills” could be part of a story, or narrative strand: here, cigarettes were smoked, eggs peeled, mattresses strung together and a little pink-colored birthday candle lit. Precisely because the mystery and the question regarding the images’ conscious staging remain unresolved, Kleinheisterkamp’s photographs emerge as individual portraits of simple objects. Although identifiable, these objects once caught on paper come to signify meanings that are left open. An attribution of the objects into a context of meaning remains dependent on their surroundings, of space and time – two dimensions, that photography, despite its ability to life-like representation, has never been able to grasp entirely and as autonomous imagery doesn’t want to demonstrate.

Text: Ulrike Westphal