Claudia Angelmaier, Betty, 2008
Leipzig artist Claudia Angelmaier uses photography to make conceptual art works. She is interested in the medium’s powers of reproduction, what goes on in the generation of printed copies, the maintenance of colour accuracy in the reproductive process, its slippages and errors.
In the project Plants and Animals a collection of art books opened to show the same painting demonstrate the varieties of hue and tone that occurs in printed reproduction. In another project called Colour and Gray she made geometric abstractions out of the grey cards and colour scales used to ensure colour control in repro photography.
The project here is called Works on Paper featuring the back of postcards of famous paintings. The image above is the back of a postcard of Gerhard Richter’s painting Betty. In this work his stated aim was to create a photograph, not through the medium of photography, but through painting. A painting that aspired to the condition of photography, through photorealism.
Angelmeier places the postcard on a lightbox and photographs through the back. We clearly see the print on the back identifying the painting, but only see the painting itself – or its reproduction – faintly. Her series is a further chapter to Walter Benjamin’s essay the Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. As a work of conceptual art, Angelmaier’s picture is a photograph of a postcard of a repro photo of a painting of a photograph!
Claudia Angelmaier, La Baigneuse Valpincon, 2008
Apart from this circular dance of image reproduction, her series has a further subject. In each picture she has chosen a painting of a woman, a woman seen from behind…
For the series “Works on Paper” I collected art picture postcards showing rear-view figures, nude or seminude female figures depicted from behind. I photographed the printed versos of the postcards so that the front motif, the female figure, shown in mirror image, is only vaguely discernable. The contemplative viewing of that female figure is actually disrupted by the postcards typography. So the context of the image is revealed whereas at the same time the identity of the female figures depicted remain concealed.