« The Stasi was an internal police force that allowed the government to stay in power. It’s role was to know everything about everyone using every available means. They knew who you had visited, who you called, and if your wife was cheating on you. It was a bureaucratic metastases in East German society. Openly or secretly, certain indicators alerted the Stasi about their fellow citizens in every school, every factory, every residential building and in all the cafes. »
Anna Funder « Stasiland »
The department called « Research and Development of Spying Technologies » of the Stasi is today, 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, a complex of buildings occupied by artist’s studios. This complex is situated across from the old Stasi prison, today a museum that serves as a memorial to the injustices wrought by the Stasi.
Fascinated by the site’s history, its labyrinthine architecture and dark ambience, I rented a studio and set up my photography practice inside one of the buildings. For over 2 years I filmed the surroundings and its occupants. Each door opens into a creative universe belonging to an artist. The hallways evoke a haunted past. The art created here is a way of exorcising the evil that existed here between 1950 and 1989. The film « Ex-Stasi » shows images of this haunted building and the spaces within , as they exist now. (short film)
The series of photographs of the building serves as a documentation of the remnants left by the secret police as they fled. This is a precious documentation of the site, as in only one short year it underwent extensive renovations. The majority of the machines and objects that were originally in this space no longer exist. These photographs serve as witness to the infrastructure of industrial spying technology before the digital era.
The subject of espionage is still a very relevant one with the current debate raging relating to digital espionage in social media, the NSA and its practices, video surveillance, digital tracking and data mining. The Internet is the perfect technological platform for espionage on a grand scale. The end of the Stasi brought about a new sort of « police state » that is both global and invisible.
« Story of the Eye » is a photographic adaptation from Georges Bataille’s novel which was first published clandestinely in France in 1928. Each photograph is named after and refers to a chapter of the book.
Having a love of surrealist literature, the world portrayed in the novel fascinates me. I am equally inspired by the atrociously seductive scenes, raw, unconventional and fanatical; as I am by the book’s surreal eroticism. The resulting mix is a sacrilege of society’s moral code, and can not exist without the idea of good (moral) and evil (immoral and degenerate).
The photographs are an expression of the complex surreality of some of the book’s most poignant sexual fantasies. The unusual postures and scenes suggests pain, ecstasy, defecation, and even death, but all represent sexual scenarios portrayed in the novel.
While taking inspiration from the book determining the content of the photos, each composition is a careful balance of traditional elements and new technics. I reference the traditional still life, but also crop the image in non-traditional forms referencing the content of that particular image.
This work is a tribute to writing because it is fundamental as an artform. Written language allows us to organize our thoughts, yet it also allows us to deploy our imagination; It can ignite our senses, emotions, and most importantly our passions.
The RYB (Red Yellow Blue) primary colors is the foundation of color vision used by painters. Nowadays television and video displays use additive primaries and the RGB (Red Green Blue) color model. The photographs are screen shots from streaming television obtained after causing a network congestion. A work referencing to abstract painting and using digital as a material.
These images are screen shots of a video conference.
From the camera to my computer, the network is saturated, the received images lack information.
Human portraits in screen format. The web camera records images without focusing, without taking into account space and perspective. This affords a malleable result, unexpected, closer to a drawing, a painting, to living matter.
Working the photographic material.
Instant capture of a human imprint.
“I think man now understands that he is an accident, that his existence is futile and should play an inane game. “Francis Bacon
Interference destroys my portraits accidentally and violently. In the same extreme way that Francis Bacon destroys human figures. Interference materialises, sometimes exploding the human anatomy, diluting skin and creating new forms. A new image is born, an accidental image, an independent image.
A blend of colors, tasks and pixels express the accident, the absence, neglect, death, the Approximate Man.
“My paintings are accidents” Francis Bacon.
Abandoning the body is a spiritual experience. The body retains an imprint of ecstasy and fulfillment, sometimes even of suffering, at the border of consciousness and nonconsciousness.
Chiaroscuro is a method of increasing the dramatic tension, of freezing the attitude of a precise moment. In Caravaggio’s pieces, the chiaroscuro technique has a symbolic meaning: the soil is sunk into the darkness, and the light brings out the divine intrusion. In photography, the chiaroscuro not only allows me to evoke the dialectic between fullness and emptiness, but also to create a feeling of presence / absence, and to emphasise a beat between apparition / disappearing.
At first, there is an astonishment within myself, about being a part of the world, about existing. This amazement comes from the fact that there is something rather than nothing. How to seize the difference between the life – consequence of biological strengths – and the action of living – a matter of cognition?
“Passage to infinity” is a title inspired from “Art of dreaming” by Carlos Castañeda, it describes how to perceive other worlds and travel. During the trip, the dream and imagination appear. We are rediscovering the essence of things in its various aspects, our soul merges with the matter, the spirit is released and infinite.
These photographs are inspired by painting and mythology. Erase time and talk about the eternal, the universal, the human: as Daniel Arasse said in “Anachroniques” about the pictures “Morgue” from Andre Serrano “as these paintings whom, in the folds and draped, express the movements of the soul”.
Pictures of the bodies taken up close and inordinately enlarged, appear to us metamorphosised into a strange sight.