Anita Beckers

Christiane Feser & Barbara Hlali

03 Jul - 29 Aug 2009

© Barbara Hlali
"Splash", 2009
Pencil on paper
35 x 50 cm
"Shiny Dark Clouds"

Duration: July 3rd - August 29th, 2009

With the exhibition "shiny dark clouds" the gallery presents the work of two young artists: Christiane Feser (* 1977) and Barbara Hlali (* 1979).

Christiane Feser shows large, abstract and classic-looking black and white photographs whereas Barbara Hlali a wall installation with expressive and figurative drawings, coloured animated films and experimental videos. Despite the diversity of the works, associative connections between both of the artists can be seen, either in the choice of the motifs as well as in their technical approach. These allow for an exciting interaction between the various pieces in the exhibition.

In the works of both artists the motif of the bird appears. While in Christiane Feser’s images low perspectives of pigeons’ swarms are captured into summarized abstract shapes, in Barbara Hlali’s drawings these turn into flapping and falling birds. Both artists use symbolic motifs: the dove as a peace symbol or the embodiment of the Holy Spirit, birds as messengers between this life and the Hereafter, as a symbol of the human soul, or as an announcement of misfortune and death.

The associations of impermanence and death, this life and the Hereafter are evoked by the two artists in a couple of other ways. Feser and Hlali deal with folding paper. Two thoughts come into the viewer’s mind: on the one hand, from something very simple like a plain sheet of paper something of value is created, on the other hand through the crush of the paper an aspect of devaluation is achieved.
Christiane Feser uses as the Folds as "prototype". They are the easiest way to produce a three-dimensional shape from any surface. Moreover, the folds of paper work with the basic conditions of photography: light, shadow and paper. The artist arranges its surreal look-like wrinkles in digital images from an archive with thousands of photographs.
In her video "Busayyah", Barbara Hlali deals with the finding of a Kurdish mass grave near the desert city Busayyah. The simple action of folding the paper in combination with drawings on the TV-screen turns into a silent picture of the cruel and incomprehensible, only to illustrate the idea of impermanence and death.
Finally, associative connections between the works of Feser and Hlali can also be found in the way they work, in a certain condensation of individual parts in order to create entire new structures.
In Christiane Feser’s pieces this takes place on an abstract level. She adds individual digital photographs to produce "all over" structures – as in the Fold images. The pigeon swarms are, on their turn, captured in a way that the individual animals merge into independent forms on their own.
Hlali also investigates into this aspect but in a political context. In her video "Revolution Contra Revolution” a coloured print of a single figure turns into a mass of people on the wall. Here as in the series of small drawings, the blurring of individual opinions within large political movements and their reversal against the individual becomes the main issue.
Both artists have found a new use for the media they handle. Here, analog, haptic media are combined with digital media. Images are re-worked, real photographs deconstructed and re-connected in a way in which media questions reality and reality is the result of a reconstruction process.
In Hlali`s pieces this takes place by working directly with the classic materials of artistic brushstrokes and color on the screen. In this way the documentary media material is covered, however, certain aspects such as the effects of armed conflict are pointed out and critically made visible. For a long time, Feser has been dealing with the changes in the meaning of photography under the digital conditions. The works on display combine both sculptural, photographic and graphic ways of working.