The artistic concept of my work
My artistic work takes two directions. On the one hand I work with photography and video and on the other hand I create site-specific installations in public spaces. My aim is to develop a photographic language on the interface between everyday life and art, between pictorial autonomy and site-specific reaction to the local conditions (for example in the urban space at the place of exhibition, art on buildings, etc.).
Since 1996 I have dealt with images that arise from the belief in the fact that people can be controlled by technology. The focus of my work is the surveillance of people, particularly in public spaces. Both artistic directions deal with the same subject and translate our elementary need for security into an aesthetic language.
The prints taken between 1996 and 2000, in particular, give a magical atmosphere to the normally very technical look of pictures taken by surveillance and X-ray cameras.
I created these pictures with the cooperation of the security personnel at locations including various art institutions, the National Library in Paris, Münster-Osnabrück International Airport (baggage control), various shopping malls and the Port of Hamburg (container control).
Since 2001 I have no longer been looking for existing surveillance images. Instead I have been using my knowledge and experience to create my own surveillance images in the form of staged photographs. The photos are steeped in a dense magical atmosphere, in large part as a result of the very close cooperation between the protagonists and me. In order to enhance the artificial look of my photos, the environment and the lighting are chosen very carefully. The photos are reminiscent of film stills. They tell an imaginary story and it is up to the viewer to figure out its beginning and its end.
In most of the photos you see a person on their own in a particular place at night, carrying out an activity that, although normal in itself, is not usually carried out at night. This activity seems to be planned as a clandestine activity without any spectators but it does not remain secret. The powerful beam of a spotlight highlights the protagonists from the bird’s eye perspective typical of surveillance cameras while they carry out their activities. They cannot stay in the dark, they are captured by the spotlight. These scenes are very mysterious and absurd. They look dramatic and artificial at the same time.
My own artistic work is based very strongly on co-operation between partners from very different origins and from very different contexts. Unknown situations are often the conditions for new ideas that I later transform into new pictures.