Sep 17-Oct 29, 2016
curated by Andreas Gursky
The formal manifestations of their work are as varied as the concepts behind them, and yet Louisa Clement, Anna Vogel and Moritz Wegwerth have one thing in common: they are among the first students Andreas Gursky admitted into his fine art class at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in 2010. The interdisciplinary structure of the class (students work with photography along with diverse media including painting, sculpture, video, performance) is a constant challenge to broaden one’s own horizons. Two approaches appear central to Gursky’s teaching: first, that he encourages his students to delve intensively into the history of their respective medium; second, he motivates them to work with current social circumstances. These factors also play an important role in the three artists’ works.
The early, 25-part photo series On One’s Way (2013) by Louisa Clement (b. 1987), bundles unusual visual experiences from various train rides spread out over the course of a year. The things that caught her photographic attention were places and spaces that would normally elude practical perception: the sliding mechanism on the door, for example, the ventilation grid and armrest. Clement photographs with a smartphone, which plays an important part of her aesthetic. The same is true of her 2015 series Heads, for which the artist photographed mannequin heads through the store windows of fashion shops. She only chose mannequins whose heads had no facial features, so the longer we look at those empty faces, the more we imagine certain characters. Clement’s heads provide ample opportunity for creative projection.
With the series Fractures (2016), the artist delves once again into the world of display windows. As with Heads, all of the images feature a background with color taken from the original environment. For Clement, the isolated body fragments serve as a metaphor for the everyday search for identity. In this sense, it is only logical that she titled her most recent series Avatar (2016). In a world of social media and virtual reality, the age-old longing to be someone else is closer to fulfillment than ever before.