André Werner | media artist

Strategies against the disappearance of the real.

At the beginning of his studies at the Hochschule der Künste Berlin (University of fine arts), A. sees himself in the tradition of figurative artists such as Egon Schiele. The nude as a medium to express his own image of man is at the center of numerous large-format paintings. While still a student, A. challenges this classical concept of fine art, questioning the meaning of the depicted subject.

“I realized that there were far more depicted people than real people. Portraying real people seemed increasingly obsolete to me. Much more relevant was the confrontation with the existing images. They determined reality more than anything real.”

This confrontation with the existing images initially takes place with the methods of painting. Photographs from magazines and periodicals, advertisements, flyers serve, applied to paper, as a starting point for a radical confrontation with the image, conducted with the means of abstract expressionism. Overpaintings, scratches, destructions are not only painterly commentaries, but emphasize the astonishing power of resistance of the pictures, their survivability.

Making this power inherent in the image tangible becomes a central concern in the works of A. In addition to overpainting, A. uses the techniques of image reproduction to set in motion a process of revitalizing the image.  In ever new combinations of photocopiers, Polaroids, televisions and video recorders, images of images are thus created.

In this image machinery, televisions and video recorders soon take on a determining role. On the way to finding images, countless video tapes are created, filmed images of filmed images, a collection of new image worlds, which are shown as independent works in the form of multi-channel video installations.

In many installations, the video camera serves not only as a means of image reproduction, but rather the image generated in real time, the direct dialogue between camera and television, in the form of closed-circuit installations, becomes a central theme of the works.

These endless loops of image generation, like alchemical arrangements that constantly create new images from themselves, refer to a core quality of the image worlds that surround us. The Autopoiesis of images that constantly reproduce themselves.

In order to be able to react as a real human being, made of flesh and blood, to this supremacy of images, it is necessary to accept the loss of control over one’s own person that accompanies the power of images and to find ways of dialogue with the images. Accordingly, A. treats the protagonists of his pictures as independent beings. He approaches the images like ghosts, cautiously, respectfully, and in awareness of their ancestors, those people who once were the origin of the image. A work not unlike that of a shaman, who establishes the connection to another dimension, a parallel world.

By giving back to the images their freedom, by freeing them from their contextual constraints and giving them space, A. allows a new look at the relationship of us to our effigies. Not only as a sign of respect, but also as a chance to actively shape the relationship with our digital doubles. The more the images that exist of us are of existential importance, A.’s works become a strategy against the disappearance of the real.

Matou de Marsalle