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Astrid Korntheuer stages and photographs spaces that are stuffed full, spaces in which the effects of the various objects, materials, and motifs pile up and overlay each other to the degree that new contexts of meaning arise. They are organized spaces in which a reality suddenly animated by pluralistic life is splintered and subordinated to the law of imagination. This new life spreads like a spider web in a complex labyrinth. Through the emphasis on similarities and differences, parallels and echoes, comparisons and contrasts, fragmentations and unifications, each element accepts what surrounds it and the risk of losing itself in that, instead of shutting itself up in the narrow security of its own appearance.

And yet it would be a mistake to think that this disorder functions solely in regard to the discontinuous and fragmentary. There is no attempt to cultivate the logic of rupture or to press onto the viewer the role of putting together an ensemble from this conglomeration of parts that do not fit each other. Astrid Korntheuer does not limit herself to creating a space into which everything enters and in which everything exists, is conspicuous, and overflows; rather, she shows where connections are lacking. The point here is to set things up so that these open ruptures cease and take part in the power and rigor of the composition. For this kaleidoscopic image to also be a synonym for order and harmony, it is absolutely necessary to homogenize its differing components and to compensate for their tendency toward dissipation by means of such strong concentration that the individual elements are made to exist in positive relation to each other and to cultivate an active mutual relationship.

What unites these photographs is their painterly nature. A broad spectrum of colors ensures differentiation and circulation. A balance arises between geometrical forms and other, more defined and concrete forms. Decoration, scenery, and situation emphasize everything that keeps perception on alert: focus, depth of field, cropping, perspective, and lighting. Sequences create significance. Networks of analogies underscore joint meanings by harmonizing seeming opposites. Astrid Korntheuer thereby includes the glance in a continuous discourse with what it explores.


Didier Arnaudet, 2009, translated by Mitch Cohen

 

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