This event is part of our Past Programme
The project entitled Der Spiegel 1989-1991, is a series of deceptively simple images comprising of 121 reproductions of black & white photographs selected and cut from the influential German newsweekly Der Spiegel. Presented in a non-sequential but methodical manner, each image is glued against a piece of white card and individually mounted in a simple frame. Whilst the images themselves remain caption-less, the dates in the series' titles offer clues about the artist's intentions.
Although there is no indication of the relevance of the period selected by the artist, the years documented in the project coincide with a significant period of German history (following the fall of the Berlin wall), of the West (the end of the Cold War), as well as a time leading up to the start of the first Gulf War. Nevertheless, these images remain bereft of the photo credits or captions of the newspaper. They are freed from their usual journalistic and informative context and the accompanying editorial. As a result, they assume a mysterious and free-floating universality as viewers struggle to recall the specific details of a sensational news story or headline.
This series of work challenges viewers to engage with deja-vu compositions and subjects, and the overly familiar and stylistic presentation of so-called factual information. The pictures presented are both typical and extraordinary, from evidential photographs of buildings, everyday activities and objects, to emotive scenes of violence, emergencies and other incidents. These visual records seem to point both towards a non-embellished view of social facts as well as social friction. They place news images, without accompanying text, into the larger context of the mediated world. Through this, Genzken also rescues meanings that are often otherwise lost in the over saturated pages of the mass media.
Through her work Genzken is concerned with what surrounds and shapes our everyday existence. From design, advertising, and the media to architecture and the urban environment, she explores ways in which aesthetic styles embody and enforce political and social ideologies.