The blog recommends exhibitions worth seeing and one of them is Mühe’s.
Mühe’s oeuvre—the artist works exclusively in analogue photography—includes portraits, interiors, and landscapes. Many motifs in the various genres attest to his critical engagement of the aesthetic representations of political power. That is especially true of the pictures in this exhibition: Mühe shows seven photographs from the series “Obersalzberg,” shots whose picturesque setting has been charged with ideological overtones ever since it served Hitler as a vacation home and second seat of government. Mühe also stages Nazi propaganda materials designed for the indoctrination of children: he transposes enlarged photographs of 1930s and 1940s toy figurines into the installation by printing them on Rhenish-format newsprint, cutting them into fragments, and papering the walls in one of the gallery rooms with them.
The six small-format photographs in the exhibition—the dimensions match the size of the original negatives produced by Mühe’s large-format camera—seem at first glance to present sublime Alpine panoramas and romantic forest scenes with captivating technical perfection. At a second glance, the composition and careful use of light guide the eye to men in uniform that are almost lost amid the nature. It takes even closer inspection to recognize that they are Nazis and, as their poses reveal, were emptying their bladders at the moment the pictures were taken. Mühe stages the ‘pissing Nazis’ as a nuisance in the idyllic landscape: they ignorantly pollute a pristine natural setting. Even now they refuse to enable a reinterpretation of the countryside near Berchtesgaden, symbolically holding on to it by brazenly marking it as their territory.
MüheMühe’s theatrical production deploys ambivalent signifiers: he does not picture Nazis, but rather arranges figures—most of them turn their backs to the beholder and thus become faceless and characterless—who unambiguously represent Nazis. The difference is subtle and yet of great importance: the pictures become legible as fictions in which borrowings from contemporary strategies of filmic and theatrical staging are conspicuous. So the figures in these frequently shadowy and uncanny scenarios do not refer to neo-Nazis posing at Obersalzberg in a form of reenactment, nor must they be confused with historic National Socialists. They instead recall the ambitiously accoutered Nazis in contemporary Hollywood cinema and the satirically exaggerated embodiments of Nazism in postdramatic theater. Their uniforms are patently costumes, unworn and sparkling clean. Their poses burst with vulgar mannerisms. It is indubitably our picture of the past that is at issue here, and with it the medium-specific conventions that shape this picture.
Mühe’s visual compositions draw on the megalomaniacal aesthetic of the National Socialists, but he does not just update it, as though working in an unbroken tradition. A large-format work that is also part of the “Obersalzberg” series contains a key to how Mühe distances himself from this aesthetic. The picture’s protagonist (first photograph)—turned to the beholder, he is recognizable as a high-ranking SS officer—is partly obscured by his photographer, a slightly smaller petty officer, who holds his camera right up to his superior’s face, concealing his eyes and nose—all we see are the head held up high, with the chin vigorously jutting forward and the mouth pursed into an arrogant frown, and his upper body, which he keeps straight as a pole. The picture does not simply reproduce the way the Nazis staged themselves to convey their superiority, pride, and intransigence; it at once also stages the theatrical production as such, emphasizing an aspect that defines the other pictures in the “Obersalzberg” series as well: the photograph is also about the moment a picture is taken, when the meticulous arrangements that went before are distilled into a single shot. The officer’s self-projection is patently subjected to a contemporary framing and integrated into a narrative of somber appeal. In this picture, which fades into darkness along the edges, Mühe presents ‘our Nazis’ as revenants of those perpetrators of atrocities who will never be fully contained by the pictures we form of them, still demanding our unwavering critical engagement.
Andreas Mühe has worked as a freelance photographer since 2001. Having started out as a press and advertising photographer, he has built a growing body of uncommissioned work since 2004. His photographs, which have been exhibited in Germany and abroad, have received numerous awards, including the 2010 Hansel Mieth Award and the 2008 and 2010 LeadAwards for portrait photography. In 2011, Kunsthalle Rostock mounted his first solo exhibition at a museum. Mühe’s work is also featured in the show State of the Art Photography at NRW Forum, Düsseldorf, which will be on display until May 6.
Just rain into the Obsessive Imagist’s post about Pimkie’s (French clothing line) color forecast. Pimkie has used selectively placed web cams and high tech programming to analyze the latest colors in fashion in Paris, Milan and Antwerp in real time.
I came accross the Obssesive Imagist post about Project Thirty Three and loved it instantly. This project collects vintage album covers that convey their message with only simple shapes and typography.
Your bags are packed, your ticket is booked, your hotel reservation is confirmed and your boarding pass is printed. You’re on your way to somewhere exciting, and most of the major decisions have been made. But there’s one more thing left to determine, and it can affect your entire trip.
For some people, it’s not a conscious choice. It just happens. You step off a plane (or out of a car), and you’re overwhelmed. The air smells different, the buildings look different and even the sunlight gives colors a sharpness you never noticed back home.
You start to walk differently, with a swing in your step and your head bouncing. You feel confident, impatient to explore this new place (or, on the flip side, you’re paralyzed by uncertainty and the unfamiliar, and it takes every ounce of willpower you have not to run and hide in your hotel room).
You walk down the street and know that you will not run into that ex-boyfriend, or that annoying coworker or that woman from across the hall who always hogs the washing machines in the laundry room. You’re in a new place, surrounded by strangers, and you become someone else, too. Some seize the opportunity immediately, while others slowly morph into another version of themselves, almost unaware of the effect this new place is having on them.
One of the best things about traveling is embracing and exploring different parts of your personality. Maybe a trip to Vegas has you wearing platform heels and liquid eyeliner. Or a camping trip brings to light your hitherto undiscovered love of flannel shirts and trail mix. Trips can reveal parts of ourselves (and likes/dislikes) we never knew existed. In addition to revealing traits like an utter inability to read a map, you might also find that you love experimenting with exotic foods (something you never would’ve tried if it was an ordinary Saturday night at home).
I know I’ve been surprised a few times with the things I’ve found out about myself while traveling. For instance, I discovered (actually, it was more like confirming) my fear of heights on the side of an Alp in Germany. At a hostel in Brighton (on a chilly spring weekend), I realized that it’s better to spend some extra dough for a blanket rather than cranking up the heat in the room (yes, you can take thriftiness too far). I’ve also found that, while I could technically survive on a box of protein bars and hostel-provided continental breakfasts, I actually have a much better time when I’m eating a semi-normal diet.
It’s fun to be someone else for a while, to dance all night on a pub crawl in Rome, to fearlessly approach other tourists and ask them to take my picture, to strike up a conversation on a train to Paris. But it doesn’t only have to be about trying new activities; it can also be as simple as trying on new clothes.
I’m usually a jeans-and-sweater (or tee-shirt, depending on the season) type of girl, but it’s fun to experiment with oversized movie star sunglasses, colorful scarves or flirty sundresses.
It’s fun to alternate between playing the part of sophisticated world traveler and budget-conscious backpacker. What you choose to wear is just another way to signal that this is something special; travel is an occasion that calls for leaving behind the ordinary, in every facet of your life.
So whether you climb a mountain, tie a neon pink sweater over your shoulders or party with the locals (or all three, preferably in the same day), sometimes losing yourself is the best way to find a new perspective.
En mi caso, descubrí que:
- Puedo caminar 12 horas seguidas sin tener dolor de pies (eso no lo hago ni loca acá en Rosario).
- Puedo comer frituras un día entero sin tener un ataque al hígado.
- Puedo estar más de 5 horas sin ir al baño.
- Puedo dormir sin bañarme después de un recital de rock porque el baño de mi hostel es un asco.
¿Qué hacen ustedes para reinventarse cada vez que viajan? ¿Qué cosas descubrieron mientras estaban en un país desconocido?
Thomas Prior is a Brooklyn-based photographer. In 2002, he earned his BFA in photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. In 2010, he was selected as one of PDN’s “30 Emerging Photographers to Watch,” and in 2009, was awarded an honorable mention in the Hey, Hot Shot! Second Edition competition. Thomas is working on several documentary projects that look at beautiful and dangerous recreation spots around the world.
“There is no stability in this world. Who is to say what meaning there is in anything? Who is to foretell the flight of a word? It is a balloon that sails over tree-tops. To speak of knowledge is futile. All is experiment and adventure. We are forever mixing ourselves with unknown quantities.”—Virginia Woolf, The Waves. (via fuckyeahvirginiawoolf)