OPEN SPACE 8: KERSTIN FLAKE, CAROLINE HAKE | Sun Salt
Opening: Friday, 10 June 2011, 7 p.m.
Exhibition: 11 June - 9 July 2011
In the exhibition Sun Salt, Caroline Hake and Kerstin Flake explore the relationship in photography between documentation and staging from two diametrically opposed contexts: on the one hand, the international trade fair as a merchandising turnover point and a space for market-based staging, where newly developed products are measured in terms of market demands such as supply and demand, competitiveness, attractiveness and exclusivity. On the other hand, empty buildings, isolated from the real estate market and condemned to a backdrop function as a result of their temporal and spatial stagnation. They form a reservoir of the imaginary: although memories and lived out stories have left little or no visible traces, at the same time they offer scope for new stagings.
For both artists the real model primarily creates a visual potential that is exploited in different ways. In Delight Hake heightens – supposedly as documentation – the staged presentation of commodities such as cables, telephone cases or oven hoods to the extent that the objects gradually become dissociated from their individual functions, revealing instead the strategy of the display. Flake, on the other hand, makes use of the stillness and fixedness of dilapidated buildings in former East Germany in Fake Spaces to create an instance both of narrative and irritation. The protagonists in Flake’s spatial images stem from the encountered contexts – light bulbs, plastic canaries or ladders – and are temporarily assigned a new role. With their help Flake records the »in-between« moment ostensibly as a snapshot and reintroduces a before and after to lifeless spaces: the light bulb sails through a shattered glass door, an umbrella frame wafts through the room as a metal octopus.
With this exact staging, both photographers suspend the unambiguity of a particular setting and create a curious degree of reality. They attach a new quality to what is encountered: removed from their functional contexts, the otherwise ordinary objects metamorphose to self-contained image motifs. The images devised by the two artists could therefore be interpreted as a commentary on social values and as a shift in meaning: they document reality, albeit as a possibility via staging.