Benyamin Reich, Esa Ylijaasko, Johannes Wewetzer,
Marcin Plonka, Thomas Gosset
Soundinstallation by Gregorio Marigliano
Digitalized photography has become, together with its systemic-mechanic post production an icon of the Perfect.
The Werkstattgalerie Berlin has a show of young photographers who get up against this ideology with a technique which we had classified as historic: Analogous photography.
They rediscover it in completely new perspectives of their own. The strategy of perfection has become predominant in many fields, most of them not being of an esthetic ambition. In designing genes, even in manipulating the human DNA it serves very realistic objectives. Digitalised warfare pretends to be perfect as it is said to exclude collatteral damage. The arrising question becomes only more evident: What is the measure of perfection?
Image and representation.
We may not discern the meaning of these words always very properly, but they challenge nevertheless our judgment. Now, it seems, with digital photography we are confronted with a third dimension. Traditionally we called perfect either a representation which meets all our standards in the arts or the crafts or it renders a rather identical copy. Now, something like an absolute perfection becomes celebrated.
In such absoluteness it claims to possess a reality in its own right. This can be compared to the souverainity of the algorithms whose right to rule is a quotation from nowhere, without being questioned. Nobody reflects upon a lived reality to which they have to be loyal.
Due to this suggestion this perfection becomes the trap in which the question of its authenticity disappears. The photographers of our exhibition distinguish a new between the object that they encounter by the means of their camera, and their proper manipulations. Between the changes they decide to apply and those coincidences effecting the definite image that they finally accept in the emergence of the picture.
Together with Gottfried Böhm we used to know that the notion of the image is justified only when a human being is witness for its authenticity because, after all, every human expression is relative. The digital perfection makes us become unaware of this
basic condition. The photographers of this group come forward with pictures that arise under the circumstances of the analogous. IE. the shot and the development happen between the eye and the hand, in movements that reflect the fact that they permit for interaction and change or are accepted as they interfere. So a new style of surrealism results in many cases from this free and creative interplay with „reality“.
The artists reassure themselves of their relation with the outcome using technics of handcrafts, sometimes painting in a way with the gelatin, sometimes using screen printing and the like. Thus the prints emerge from a long sequence of impressions and their artistic expression. The process of action, immediate result, and reaction straits
with the precise choice of the motive, it goes through many steps,
and becomes finalized in the individual image. The decision for a certain initial attitude plays a decisive role anew, which is replaced in the world of the digital by a selection from the series of snap shots taken rather at random. Definitely comparable to the principal attitude of the pretentious photographers of the past. But there is the difference that they leave undetermined to which reality, to which of its conventional or spontaneous dimensions they feel an obligation of loyalty. By those decisions and this obligation they acquire freedom where we are on the brink to submit to subliminal determination by technical systems: Fascination of the myth of perfection.
To break away from perfect illusion gives way to the freedom for realities with which the artists know to be part in their personal relations. Analogous photography lives, of coarse, in existential separation opposite the real world. But for these artists their
reality is never „unmaterialized and derealized“, against the thrive of digitization.
In the freedom of their decisions and their conscious obligations, analogous photographers can create binds with reality anew. How close is this attitude to painting? At the end of the nineteenth century painters performed broke away
from the ideal of naturalism, against the perfectionism of representation in
the photography of their time. They created the movements of impressionism in the first place, later of expressionism and into abstraction.
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