Katharina Jahnke

02 Jul - 13 Aug 2011

© Katharina Jahnke
EIER, 2011
b/w digital print
40 x 53,3 cm, framed 41,5 x 54 cm
2 July - 13 August 2011

A trophy is a sign of victory, an object that serves as a proof of triumph over a person, a fact, a threat or a risk. In Katharina Jahnke’s exhibition Trophy black and white photographs, wall objects and vitrines question the existence of these spaces of meaning and deal with the trophy as an object representing power which is used in all kinds of spatial constellations. The works put the stability of these scenarios to the test and the layering of diverse materials creates complex structures guiding the gaze towards the detail as much as towards the composition as a whole.

Katharina Jahnke’s trophies in form of wall sculptures are disposed of their meaning and rather exist as sculptural extensions of the wall or the space without being attributed to a certain event. Expectations are not met here, the cultural and fashionable use of these objects is questioned and the security of the existing system of values starts to falter.

In her vitrine-like sculptures Katharina Jahnke combines diverse materials like wood, stone, ceramics and glass. At first glance they also remind us of antique trophies which are positioned freely in the space but here as well there is nothing left of the original system of meaning. At the same time the way of presenting historical artefacts is a topic that is mirrored in the concept of the vitrine for this kind of sculpture.

As a connecting element trophies also occur as a wall or room decoration in the photographs of the exhibition. They show three-dimensional collages of book pages that are linked to objects in the artist’s studio. Thus an artificially created temporal and spatial continuity develops which is underlined by the considered use of light. Based on the book “Rustic Living” from 1968 the photographs bridge the gap between the reproduced interiors in 1960ies style and the spatial arrangements of objects in Katharina Jahnke’s studio. The illusion of this continuity is intensified by the artist picking up single formal elements of the reproduction, by the quoting of these elements in the present. With the reproduction of a reproduction the original motif is shifted into the background but at the same time the artist creates through the linking of these two levels a questioning of the meaning of these spaces that do no longer exist in a closed form.

Arthur Conan Doyle writes in one of his stories: “The ideal reasoner, he remarked, would, when he had once been shown a single fact in all its bearings, deduce from it not only all the chain of events which led up to it but also all the results which would follow from it.” Looking at Katharina Jahnke’s sculptures, reliefs and photographs the viewer faces a similarly mysterious task, a complex structure he has to decode. The idea of a spatial continuity is based on the creation of a visual transparency comparable to a theatre-like scenery. All works of the exhibition have the layering and connecting of single parts in common. As a bricolage of single, sometimes very different elements the work as a whole sends the viewer on a journey through a world of hidden references and meanings.