Claudia Angelmaier’s works on paper


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.




Claudia Angelmaier, Color and Gray, 2006

Like Hans-Christian Schink, the subject of my last post, Claudia Angelmaier is a German artist based in Leipzig. And like Schink, she trained at its famous Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst, the Academy of Visual Arts. Angelmaier’s work is conceptual, examining “the museum without walls” – art reproductions in books, postcards and lecture slides.

The play with the images of art and their history is at the heart of Claudia Angelmaier’s work whereby particular focus lies on the pictures and their mechanical reproduction, material image and contextual situation.

The work shown above uses the gray cards and step wedges that ensure correct reproduction when photographing paintings for publication. They have been cleverly composed to resemble a Constructivist painting, say by Moholy-Nagy or El Lissitski. The tools of art reproduction are used to make an original artwork, which, being a photograph, is itself a reproduction. Angelmaier’s work is precise, it’s quite beautiful, but it’s also playful.

You can see more on her website at