Press Release, March 2018
Christian Andersen is pleased to present "The Long Zoom", an exhibition featuring works by Taslima Ahmed, Benjamin Hirte, Sven Loven, Alan Michael, and Josephine Pryde. While the title references a faux technical photography term, the use of photography or photographic elements are essential to all of the artists' practices. The notion of the "zoom" becomes both a literal hint to the artists' use of photography, and to the ways the different works address notions of temporality and history.
Depicting jellyfish, the oldest multi-organed animal at 500 million years old, Taslima Ahmed's work "Rings of Saturn" from 2017 is part of a series of photographs that have previously been presented as interfaces. Rather than using Augmented Reality (AR) or Virtual Reality (VR), the photographs make use of depth of field and high contrast to amplify artificiality in order to create a highly aestheticised reality. For the work "Ancient Disk" from 2018, the artist sought to make an artefact using modern technology, inscribed with a supposed universal, yet incomplete, truth. The photo is mounted on aluminium, a material that was not mined until 1825.
"Gutter/Rinne", a work by Benjamin Hirte from 2017, was originally made to connect the floor levels of a gallery in Vienna. By installing the boxed metal drain over the full length of the staircase, the artist created an edge making it harder to cross from one level to the other. The length of the sculpture is therefore exactly the width of that particular gallery space. At Christian Andersen, the work seems to imitate the drain that was once a significant part of the locations original architecture, as it used to serve as an auto repair shop. Hirtes drain sculpture contains the dust and dirt it collected over the course of the original exhibition, as well as some insignificant objects from the artists wallet and other peoples pockets. As places to store, contain and connect; objects like drains, pools and basins always seem to reference symbolic infrastructural innards.
The series of smaller paintings by Sven Loven show a combination of two factors: figurative imagery from a Japanese online roleplaying game, and historical texts that are mostly political in nature, such as Karl Marx' discourse on the question of free trade, and a text from an old German lesbian magazine called "The Girlfriend". The interest has been to depict this particular imagery because of how it steals from different kinds of odd historical sources, only to mix them up in a somewhat uncouth way. The characters from the online roleplaying game could be viewed as avatars of capital: as figurative manifestations of commerce and its mutated forms online.
Titled "Train in the Snow", the blurry painting of a meat storage by Alan Michael from 2014, is based on a photograph sourced from the internet. As a continuation of previous work by the artist, the image was chosen for its use of, among other things, repeated elements and focus shifts. The blurry effect was achieved by processing the image through Instagram filters. The work "Mood 7" from 2010 depicts an extreme close-up of a band badge with the words "Moi et un singe sur la lune" ("Me and a monkey on the moon") written in a 1960's type melted font. The imagery on the badge was the logo for the 1980's British indie rock band Felt's last album by the same name, which Michael had translated into French for a series of photographs for a fanzine spread.
Josephine Prydes two photographs are titled "Four hands on a slab" and "Three hands on a slab". They were shot in 2016 and printed in 2018 for the first time for this exhibition. The works are close-up images of hands touching various "smart" devices. As the two almost identical photographs are shown together, a sense of progress or temporal movement can be indicated. At the same time, ones attention is drawn towards the point at which body and object meet, and the variation of the hands gestures.
Opening: Friday 16 March 5–9 pm.
Exhibition period: 16 March – 5 May, 2018.