Still gallery, Laar 12, 2140 Antwerpen (BE)
Opening: 2015/08/30 15:00
“The points of departure for the recent work by Katrin Kamrau are artistic investigations in the images that serve to illustrate photographic techniques in West European specialist and amateur photography manuals. She interrogates the primary task of these photo spreads – namely, their explanations for how to produce flawless and professional photographs.” The artists analysis of illustrative photography and drawings are reaching far beyond the simple reading in function of photographical training. She takes the material out of its immediate context so certain choices during the creation process of this footage can be questioned.
By taking a closer look the artist discovers a whole spectrum of elements touching issues like social interactions, power structures, role models and networks of relations… She is sensitive for the reciprocal triangular relationship between photographer, model and viewer – not only during the process of making but also the process of perceiving the image. The question arises to what extent the standards present in these images interact with everyday society.
The artist “makes deliberate reference to the many recurring representations of a conservative image of gender roles in photography manuals intended to be scholarly: the woman as model and muse, the man as maker and creator of society. The gaze thus applies not just to the motif but also, and at the same time, to the viewer of the final photograph, whose way of looking at the world, as addressee of the visual content to be communicated, is enduringly moulded.”
Although the artist work departs from a social concern about values in our Western culture, its methods are multi-layered and humorous. For example her historical/archival research goes hand in hand with a sometimes pseudo-scientific approach.
One of the current strategies for Katrin Kamrau is to place existing work in a new context or supplement it with new elements, which enriches her viewpoint. This is the case with SPEKTRUM*shelf and SPEKTRUM*objekt18 (portrait) at the exhibition of Young Belgian Art Prize in Bozar. In her show 'solo' at stilll gallery, she starts from footage from her recent publication Das Objekt, 2014. and presents its elements in an interactive exhibition context. Das Objekt, 2014 shows a chronological evolution of graphical drawings in photography manuals used in the Dutch language area between 1921 and 2002. In stilll gallery these illustrations are accompanied with similar material from the former GDR (or East Germany as it was often called here). Here you can almost literary see how Katrin Kamrau unravels the details and reassembles them in one mural composition - a ideal urban landscape composed of functional elements.