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Sieverding & Mettig: ULTRA ENDURA

23 January 2005 - 28 March 2005
Cooperation with: Oldenburger Kunstverein
Opening: 22 January 2005, 19:00
Presstalk: 21 January 2005, 14:00
The photographers Katharina Sieverding and Klaus Mettig have developed a joint exhibition for the Edith Russ Site for Media Art and the Oldenburger Kunstverein. The artists will exhibit selected works from their own repertoires, arranged together in such a way that reflects both the content and the aesthetic form of their individual art.

Reflective observation of current issues facing society forms the basis of Katharina Sieverding's and Klaus Mettig's artworks. The artists address socially relevant topics - such as identity, individuality, society, and the technization of people and nature - using the mediums of photography, film, and video. Both artists use images found in various contexts of the media, such as technical, scientific, or medical pictures, as well as other texts and images - of refugees or war scenes, for instance - found in the press. Yet each artist's unique aesthetic language of form clearly expresses itself in all its various facets and subtleties.

For the Venice Biennale in 1997, Katharina Sieverding created her Steigbilder I-IX, a series of large-scale images, often composed of several parts, based on documentary, journalistic, or scientific pictures. The artist used both digital and analogue photographic techniques to create a complex visual structure that cannot be deciphered simply by viewing it. Katharina Sieverding will be showing two of her Steigbilder at the Edith Russ Site for Media Art. The upper floor's exhibition space with its high ceiling provides the perfect setting for the pictures.

Steigbild VI (500 x 300 cm) consists of four vertical panels containing a circular shape that seems to have a pull similar to that of a centrifuge. Yet the circle also appears as if it were the iris of a giant eye dominating the room. This distorted image is based on a press photograph of a violent battle between Palestinians and the Israeli army in the city of Nablus. A picture taken behind a soldier wearing a helmet becomes visible on the bottom panel much in the same way an anamorphosis becomes apparent. Sieverding's Steigbild VII (300 x 375 cm) likewise remains an obtuse image at first. Upon closer inspection of the brown and black visual structure resembling afrottage, three faces materialize along the upper edge of the picture. This image reflects a real-life event that was showcased in the media: it shows three Italian soldiers doing push-ups on a Brindisi beach before leaving for a peace-keeping mission in Albania.

These large-scale pictures are juxtaposed with Klaus Mettig's works, which were created during the artist's frequent trips to China. They include three individual pictures Mettig took in Shanghei in 1992, and two others from 2003, which are arranged together into image complexes typical of the artist's style. Thus, each individual picture stands in relation to the others, thereby automatically forming a communicative structure between all of them. How has Shanghai changed in the last ten years? What opportunities does a person have today in a society so driven by consumption, as opposed to the conformity of the political mass movement of former times? What effect does this development have on China's cultural identity?

In its small cinema, the Edith Russ Site for Media Art will also offer a rare screening of the film "China, September - October 1978, Beijing, Yanan, Xian, Luoyang, 1978," which the two artists produced together. The film profile of several of China's cities resulted from an officially organized, three-week visit there by Katharina Sieverding and Klaus Mettig. It is a 16-mm film that shows a glimpse of everyday life in the country shortly after the end of the Cultural Revolution.

In contrast to the pictures of Shanghai from 1992 and 2003, Klaus Mettig will also show a work complex of eight different pictures taken in 2004, in which he dispenced with an elevated perspective. Mettig's latest works are images of street life in New York, taken in the traditional "street photography” style - meaning that the artist was not acquainted with the subjects of his photographs, and the subjects were not aware they were being photographed. In addition to the alleged documentary view, the artist also seem to be interested in the fragile, "decisive moment” captured on film. He seems, in fact, to be observing - observing tragedies, isolation, intimacy... Mettig's pictures are austere and rough, but also very poetic. They are touching because they dramatically express something about the relationships between people, about intimacy and distance.

Katharina Sieverding has juxtaposed these images with her own photo-sculptures from the series GZ 1-6 from 2002, each of which consists of two pictures and two mirror elements. A kind of "show-jumping” or obstacle course results that not only showcases the large-scale abstract pictures, but also gives structure to the entire space and pulls the viewer in as a performer.

For the work, the artist has employed, among other things, medical pictures, such as of blood clots or genetic research material. The artist has also used images manipulated by software or even included self-portraits. For her GZ photo-sculptures, the artist has used sections of pictures from other works. This subjective selection, which is also based on the particular context of the exhibition and the sculptural installation, offers a view of various and constantly changing relationships between the elements, also due to current circumstances. A perpetual connection and opposition of subjective portraits and images of social realities emerges as if it were a metamorphosis, which the artist addresses in many of her works both in terms of content and through technical means.


16 March 2005, 19:00

06 March 2005, 15:00

Funded by

Edith-Russ-Haus for Media Art, Katharinenstraße 23, D-26121 Oldenburg, Tel.: +49(0)441/235-3208, Fax.: +49(0)441/235-2161
Opening Hours: Tuesday - Friday 14:00 -18:00, Saturday - Sunday 11:00 - 18:00, Monday closed
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Stadt Oldenburg