Behind Images

Behind Images brings together two artists whose concerns lie primarily in the abstraction and partial presence of altered photographs. To question what was and what could be, Schefferski and Jordan in turn take, remove and distort flat photographic images from contemporaryculture.

Jordan’s work focuses on the investigation of photographic images and their potential to be transformed based on alteration and context. Objects and places are alienated from their origins and once removed, presented as abstracted and at times repetitive forms. Compressed in a single new surface, the images are recreated with sculptural plasticity. These pieces question materiality, symbols of representation and the flatness of images in visual culture. Once re-assimilated the images reveal their own ‘blue-print’, which is released within its new context.

She challenges the role of narrative and cinematic clichés in image-led works. Looking at how images (say a photo of a car interior ‘Passengers’ series) become cliché and thus affects the viewer immediately, like the idea of a Google image search as a shared visual memory. Going against cliché, her images are photographic ‘non-places’; they allude to, for example, the turning of a page of a magazine. The action of turning the page is the focus, not the actual page. Her photographs and sculptures are slippery, highlighting the animated nature of her work. She has produced the works for Behind Images following a research trip to Neukölln; they were made with Richardstrasse in mind.

Schefferski explores a constellation of texts and pictures in newspapers to initiate a discussion about the manipulative character of photographs in the print media. This theme is reflected in a whole series of works, exhibitions and projects realised by the artist over many years. In a series of works called Empty Images and Financial Time(s) he questions the relationship between photographs and the reality documented by mass media as a calculated political manoeuvre.

Instead of generating new images, which could be added to this tactically constructed visual universe, in Empty Images Schefferski deletes photographs from pages of various newspapers. He leaves a thin colour frame, a trace of the cutting out process. This trace highlights the lack of images and the words become reduced to the role of passe-partout. In the later works he cut out front-page-photographs to reveal deeper layers of the complete newspaper. In this way, the headlines seemed to be confronted with the photographs from the pages underneath. In the whole process of his artistic “deconstruction” he takes subtle control of images in the mass media. Significant for him is the question: how do images operate within the cultural memory and what influence they have on the cultural and collective memory of an individual and the whole society.

Through the removal and transformation of the images, the artists play with initial reference points. The materiality of papers and prints is emphasised and critical. The results question the purpose and suggestive nature of images in our contemporary visual culture.

Melissa Jordan’s approach to images is atypical and explores the physical nature of flattened images in our contemporary culture. Through both sculpture and photography the abstracted images are reformed. These works lend themselves to their original formats: the cinematic and the light box screen; the printed image and the magazine.

Born in 1984 and raised in Cambridge, UK she has been living in London since 2002 having moved to study her BA Sculpture at Chelsea Art College. Following a MA in Sculpture at the Royal College of Art (2009) she has had numerous UK exhibitions in London, Liverpool (Ceri Hand, Cave Art Fair to coincide with the Biennial) and Cambridge. This is her second exhibition in Berlin.

For her solo show Hard Shoulder at Hayward Gallery Concrete Café 2014 Jordan produced site specific works that reflected on the history of the sinister, concrete building and the large, omnipresent parasols that stand outside.

In 2015 she produced her first Artist Book Spine launched at Horatio Junior (London). Alongside exhibiting work, Jordan focuses on printed works that can reach a wider audience. She has had solo publications in the Hayward Gallery and Tate Modern bookshop and had a recent commission for Lula magazine (2014) Into the Fold which was a reconsideration of high gloss imagery printed in a high gloss magazine. A new venture is a collaboration with menswear designer Shaun Samson for his Autumn Winter 2015 collection. She has upcoming print commissions for music magazine CLASH (CLASH100) and Talc magazine this year.

Roland Schefferski uses various media to realize his artistic concepts according to their requirements. In his work, the artist takes the role of a critical analyst of everyday reality, often using it in unconventional ways for artistic purposes. One of his consistent artistic strategies is manifested in his works, which deal with different qualities of perception and remembering of the pictorial image as an iconic form. The focus of his attention is the question: how do images operate within the cultural memory and what influence do they have on the cultural and collective memory? The manipulative character of pictures in the mass media is a theme reflected in a whole series of works and exhibitions realised by the artist over many years.

Schefferski’s exhibitions and projects include, among others, National Museum in Krakow, Maerkisches Museum in Berlin, Museum of Warmia and Masuria in Olsztyn, Centre for Contemporary Art in Gdansk, Gallery of the Upper Austrian Museum in Linz, Kunstsammlungen in Chemnitz, Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw, Museum Ostdeutsche Galerie in Regensburg and Kuenstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin.In addition to exhibitions and projects within institutional spaces, the artist also realizes his works in public spaces. For Schefferski a street, a garden, a store or a library are also relevant places where he can present art, as well as traditional exhibition spaces. 

For example, Schefferskideposited his artworks as commonly objects for the commission sale in a second-hand shop in Berlin and in an antique store in Gdansk. He also exhibited on the streets of Warsaw with a billboard saying “Create your own image of Berlin.” During his walks in Frankfurt (Oder), Słubice and Warsaw, he lost coins minted for this occasion. He lent to the exhibition visitors in different cities – recently in Krakow – clothes marked with embroidered human silhouettes. He also installed his works in the gardens of Brandenburg; in a historic Temple of Pomona, Potsdam. RolandSchefferski was born 1956 in Poland. From 1976 to 1981 he studied sculpture at the State College of Visual Arts, Wrocław. Since 1984 he has been living and working in Berlin.

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