Decolonizing the Gaze

André Werner, „Der Blick zurück“ (Tibetanisches Mädchen), 2022 Chromogenic silver halide print, Edition of 5 | 2 AP 40 x 30 cm, signed, dated and numbered
André Werner, „Der Blick zurück“ (Tibetanisches Mädchen), 2022
Chromogenic silver halide print, Edition of 5 | 2 AP
40 x 30 cm, signed, dated and numbered

Der Blick zurück | a decolonization of unknown women

At the center of my work is the idea of a revival of the image. Like an alchemist who strives to get to the bottom of things, to recognize their uniqueness, he tries to lift the fleetingness of images, to give them the respect they deserve.

The current series of works “Der Blick zurück” (The look back)is an artistic examination of colonial and racist stereotypes, longings and “anonymous portraits”.

In 1912, “Das Weib im Leben der Völker” by Albert Friedenthal is published in Berlin. The two volumes gather 1149 illustrations of mostly young women from all parts of the world. The depicted women are described only by their origin and occasionally by their function. Individuals in their own right are transformed into exotic objects of desire, sorted out like butterflies skewered in a showcase.

The goal of the project is a liberation, a peeling out of the women from the numerous superimpositions of meaning, in order to make a new, autonomous existence possible for them. For this purpose, the entire analog and digital instruments of image generation are used. With the declared goal of finding that magic moment in which a rebirth occurs. To a decolonization of the nameless women.

Many of the women look directly into the camera. “The Look Back” takes up this look, returns it with means of deconstruction, reproduction and intervention. With its revival, the images themselves get their gaze back, unobstructed by projections and no longer trapped between pages of books.

It is a gaze that aims directly into the eyes of the viewer and invites them to look back.

This ongoing project will be presented at the Artlab Tor 218 gallery during the Berlin Art Week, September 22.

A sneak preview on some works can be done at the contemporary art ruhr photo/media art fair at the booth of Directors Lounge (12/21)