Camera Austria International

133 | 2016

  • HANS-JÜRGEN BONACK, JULIA KLEMENT
    ANDREAS PRINZING
    KATHRIN PETERS
    KITO NEDO
    HANNES BÖHRINGER
    TATJANA TURANSKYJ
    DOREEN MENDE
    OLAF NICOLAI
  • HEIDI SPECKER
  • JENS ASTHOFF
    Ketuta Alexi-Meskhishvili: Analogue Iridescence
  • KETUTA ALEXI-MESKHISHVILI
  • STEPHEN ZEPKE
    Post-conceptual analogue: Mladen Bizumic’s Kodak Photographs
  • MLADEN BIZUMIC
  • TACO HIDDE BAKKER
    Stephan Keppel: Overtones of Motion
  • STEPHAN KEPPEL
  • OMAR KHOLEIF
    What Is an Internet Aesthetic?

Editorial

The idea behind the issue at hand deals, both loosely and inevitably, with two contrary moments in contemporary photography. On the one hand, questions are currently revolving around what photography even still is, how we can glean an image from vision, how we can “act upon” this image, and how it must be almost violently wrested from the medium. On the other hand, related questions overlap, exploring what could happen to these images—which regimes they will be subjected to and how they could be newly structured, as well as what consequences this might have for the dramaturgies of their meanings or, at least, the narratives. Ultimately, these regimes and consequences—like many of the initially contradictory demands placed on photography—lead back to a conflictual state that we have explored repeatedly in recent years: What is the photographic image able to achieve? What is expected of it? Doesn’t this fundamental ambivalence seem strangely anachronistic at a time that speaks of the post-documentary and tries to understand the image as emerging after representation? What does this really mean for the photographically rendered, when it is no longer conceived as a specific form of representation? In any case, this assumption implies an eminent fragility of photographic images, which navigate along an increasingly diffuse border between clarity, immediacy, designation and vagueness, openness, abstraction.

Full text

Camera Austria International 133 | 2016
Editorial

The idea behind the issue at hand deals, both loosely and inevitably, with two contrary moments in contemporary photography. On the one hand, questions are currently revolving around what photography even still is, how we can glean an image from vision, how we can “act upon” this image, and how it must be almost violently wrested from the medium. On the other hand, related questions overlap, exploring what could happen to these images—which regimes they will be subjected to and how they could be newly structured, as well as what consequences this might have for the dramaturgies of their meanings or, at least, the narratives. Ultimately, these regimes and consequences—like many of the initially contradictory demands placed on photography—lead back to a conflictual state that we have explored repeatedly in recent years: What is the photographic image able to achieve? What is expected of it? Doesn’t this fundamental ambivalence seem strangely anachronistic at a time that speaks of the post-documentary and tries to understand the image as emerging after representation? What does this really mean for the photographically rendered, when it is no longer conceived as a specific form of representation? In any case, this assumption implies an eminent fragility of photographic images, which navigate along an increasingly diffuse border between clarity, immediacy, designation and vagueness, openness, abstraction.
For many years now, Heidi Specker has been exploring the specific visuality of photography in her various series and books. Surely the interweaving of cut-out-like textures with the objectivity of their representation is of importance in the artist’s work, yet without her needing to manually intervene in the image. It is rather the gaze that is determinative for her artistic practice, a kind of excursive visual precision, coupled with montage, grouping, and sequencing. For this magazine issue, however, the artist decided to bring to the forefront a further moment in her artistic practice: an affinity for the filmic. A number of authors were invited to take such a filmic look at Heidi Specker’s work. In parallel, she drafted two different »screenplays« as part of her work over the past twenty years: “Don’t show every side of things; allow yourself a margin for the indefinite,” with Andreas Prinzing citing Jean-Luc Godard.
Jens Asthoff meticulously details how the practice of Ketuta Alexi-Meskhishvili is situated at the boundary between abstraction and object photography, as a kind of permanent semi-documentary oscillation between representation and transformation of the represented—especially when she scratches film material, experiments with photogram techniques, light stencils and gestures, without losing sight of conventions of the gaze and of representation in the process. Images emerge that appear to be heteronomous yet are simultaneously also subjected to the conditions of photography, a specific contemporaneity of the visual, in which everything openly comes to light and is complexly enriched by materiality and context. As the author notes, “generally melded into something new with its own texture, something that is neither mere representation nor non-representational construction”.
For Mladen Bizumic, too, photography is “both material and concept, a conjunction the work itself attempts to extrapolate,” as Stephen Zepke writes. In his more recent works, the artist probes the rise and fall of the Eastman Kodak corporation, which stands as an apt example of the upheaval to which photography was exposed during the transition from analogue to digital. In Bizumic’s work, this radical change also involves a collision of material and representation, as a fragile combinatorial analysis of both material and pictorial citations, ranging from its dissolution to a new composition of shredded images. His work is “poised on the edge of its own dissolution, perhaps painstakingly and only partially recomposed like in a bad spy movie, or more poetically perhaps, caught in the wind just before its pieces disperse, almost like a snapshot”.
Stephan Keppel’s contribution harks back to a sojourn in New York in the autumn of 2015, where he meandered through the city with Taco Hidde Bakker, the author of the essay accompanying his contribution. The urban and the semi-urban have long been the focus of his interest—the urban periphery, which he, however, does not conceive spatially, but rather as a state of order that vertically permeates the entire city space. The ornamental-banal, the random, the scorned—all are found as urban texture in any given place. As Taco Hidde Bakker writes: “Everything is bound to end up as a story, a movie, a book. Nowadays, for sure, everything flows into pictures,” that is, in a process of transformation, translation, reorganisation, and restructuring.
These moments of processing and reworking the photographic are evident in all works by the artists introduced here: it is the image that, with Keppel, potentially becomes text; or with Specker, potentially becomes film; or with Alexi-Meskhishvili, potentially becomes a montage of visual materials; or with Bizumic, potentially becomes the material of a political history of the image. In most instances, everything is openly revealed and is also complexly enriched by the materiality of the representation and related contexts. The contemporaneity of the photographic image perhaps lies in this capacity for enrichment and charging of its numerous surfaces, whether analogue or digital, or, as usual, in a rather undefined zone of transition between the two.
So this issue of Camera Austria International also deals with transgressions, transformations, superimpositions, with passing over from one side to the next. It is for this reason that we decided to reproduce the cover of a book on our magazine cover. Heidi Specker’s re-prise takes the book Ci-Contre by Moï Wer from the early 1930s as a template for channelling her own images into this design. To us, this appropriation and, at times, this overwriting as a magazine cover appears to get to the heart of this ambivalence in terms of the fragility of what is shown, and what we can expect of photography.
The first Column contribution for the year 2016 by Omar Kholeif, who in 2014 already accepted our invitation to write an essay on the work of the Palestinian artist Shuruq Harb and who in August 2015 was already significantly involved as a jury member in bestowing the Camera Austria Award for Contemporary Photography by the City of Graz to Annette Kelm, is devoted to the question: “What is an Internet aesthetic?” At any rate, he remarks that this aesthetic is in the process of transcending the “limitations of the screen, becoming part and parcel of reality”.

Reinhard Braun
and the Camera Austria Team
March 2016

Cover: Heidi Specker, Re-prise: 110 photos de Heïdi Specker. Ed. by Ann and Jürgen Wilde. Spector Books, Leipzig 2016.

Contributions

Forum

Presented by the editors
Simon Brugner
Nir Evron
Klára Vystrčilová
Sarah Walzer
Alessandro Calabrese
Valérian Mazataud

Exhibitions

Transparenzen. Zur Ambivalenz einer neuen Sichtbarkeit
Bielefelder Kunstverein, Bielefeld
Kunstverein Nürnberg – Albrecht Dürer Gesellschaft
ANDREAS PRINZING

Marina Pinsky: Dyed Channel
Kunsthalle Basel
MORITZ SCHEPER

Ocean of Images: New Photography 2015
MoMA, New York
NICOLAS LINNERT

»Das Foto als Objekt ist chemisch, physikalisch, physisch der dinghaften Welt viel näher, als es allgemeinhin gedacht wird«
Jochen Lempert
Between Bridges, Berlin
WOLFGANG TILLMANS, MAREN LÜBBKE-TIDOW

Lina Selander
Moderner Museet, Stockholm
SARA CALLAHAN

Das Paradies der Untergang. Hartmut Skerbisch – Medienarbeiten
Kunsthaus Graz
Wenzel Mraček

LaToya Ruby Frazier: Performing Social Landscapes
Carré d’art, Nîmes
CAPC, Bordeaux
GISLIND NABAKOWSKI

Leo Kandl: People and Places—Photographs from 40 Years. Otto Breicha-Award 2015
Museum der Moderne – Rupertinum, Salzburg
WALTER SEIDL

Otto Steinert. Absolute Gestaltung
Museum Folkwang, Essen
Arbeit am Bild. Otto Steinert und die Felder des Fotografischen – Internationales Symposium zum 100. Geburtstag von Otto Steinert
Folkwang Universität, Essen
REBECCA WILTON

A Handful of Dust
Le Bal, Paris
MAREN LÜBBKE-TIDOW

Streamlines. Ozeane, Welthandel und Migration
Deichtorhallen, Hamburg
KARIN SCHULZE

Resistance Performed – Aesthetic Strategies under Repressive Regimes in Latin America
Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich
SØNKE GAU

Monuments Should Not Be Trusted
Nottingham Contemporary
NIKI RUSSELL

Provoke—Between Protest and Performance: Photography in Japan 1960–1975
Albertina, Vienna
Fotomuseum Winterthur
Le Bal, Paris
The Art Institute of Chicago
ULRIKE MATZER

Books

Die Verräumlichung der Buchseite
Ilya Kabakow: SHEK Nr. 8, Bauman-Bezirk, Stadt Moskau
Reclam Verlag, Leipzig 1994
Christian Patterson: Fond du Lac / Bottom of the Lake
Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Köln / Cologne 2015
Christof Nüssli, Christoph Oeschger: Miklós Klaus Rózsa
Cpress, Zürich; Spector Books, Leipzig 2014
JAN WENZEL

On Playfulness, Ordinariness, and Bestiality
Annette Behrens: (in matters of) Karl
Fw:Books, Amsterdam 2015
KRZYSZTOF PIJARKSI

Anne Nishimura Morse, Anne E. Havinga (eds.): In the Wake. Japanese Photographers Respond to 3 / 11
Boston MFA Publications 2015
MRIAM ROSEN

Dana Lixenberg: Imperial Courts 1993–2015
Roma Publications, Amsterdam 2015
KARIN BAREMAN

Andrew Phelps: cubic feet/sec.
Fotohof edition, Salzburg 2015
DAMIAN ZIMMERMANN

Souvenirs du Sphinx: Collection Wouter Deruytter
Éditions Poursuite, Paris 2015
CHRISTINA TÖPFER

Imprint

Publisher: Reinhard Braun

Owner: Verein CAMERA AUSTRIA. Labor für Fotografie und Theorie.
Lendkai 1, 8020 Graz, Österreich

Editors: Margit Neuhold, Christina Töpfer, Sabine Weier.

Translators: Dawn Michelle d’Atri, Amy Klement, Wilfried Prantner.

English proofreading: Dawn Michelle d’Atri

Acknowledgments: Mladen Bizumic, Hannes Böhringer, Alessandro Calabrese, Ben Caton, Hans-Jürgen Bonack, Simon Brugner, Nir Evron, Florian Ebner, Frits Gierstberg, Hans Gremmen, Taco Hidde Bakker, Georg Kargl, Stephan Keppel, Omar Kholeif, Julia Klement, Margot Langelaan, Fiona Liewehr, Valérian Mazataud, Doreen Mende, Kito Nedo, Olaf Nicolai, Petra Noordkamp, Heidi Oswald, Kathrin Peters, Andreas Prinzing, Angelika Reichert, Heidi Specker, Becky Timmins, Tatjana Turanskyj, Klára Vystrčilova, Sarah Walzer, Rebecca Wilton, Stephen Zepke, Hannah Zundel.

Copyright © 2016
No parts of this magazine may be reproduced without publisher’s permission.
Camera Austria International does not assume any responsibility for submitted texts and original materials.

ISBN 978-3-902911-22-3
ISSN 1015 1915
GTIN 4 19 23106 1600 5 00133