Series of hand crafted analogue prints from negative
Soft Filter with Sharp Edges
As part of Eyes On, the Month of Photography, the Raum mit Licht gallery presents photographs by Anita Witek. Under the title Best of . . . she shows disturbing spatial arrangements.
Vienna – You never know exactly where up and down are: true, sometimes blinds or floorboards give some idea of spatial coordinates, but on some collages Anita Witek has disintegrated her spatial images in such a way that the eye finds no resting point.
The starting material for her collage series Best of . . . was on the one hand Schöner Wohnen [Better Living] magazine from the 1970s and the book The Best of David Hamilton, in which the famous-infamous photographer lives out his erotic fantasies with the soft filter.
Witek, who among other things studied at the Royal College of Art in London, of course did not keep much of this: the interiors and exteriors that she dissects, remounts and repeatedly photographs in several work stages only contain allusions to the landscapes in which Hamilton set the girls then.
In her large-format pictures softly flowing waves, for example, are broken by constructivist-style room elements. Far removed from any eroticism, she has also staged the blinds in an exclusively space-structuring way. In the depths of the interlocking spaces, the eye seeks in vain for an image background. From the overlapping image elements – like the partly only loosely draped snippets – it is guided back to the surface. The hanging of the pictures in almost identical pairs further strengthens a game of deception which not least applies to the representative functions of the medium of photography. Beyond their depictive function, Witek’s shots open up the most diverse levels of reality and image. Levels that constantly oscillate back and forth between object space and illusory space.
From a distance, the aesthetic charm of the 1970s that is reminiscent of Martha Rosler’s collages remains (she too used lifestyle magazines – for example for Bringing the War Home). But they also make one think of Mies van der Rohe’s architectural sketches. On closer examination, however, these associations quickly dissipate, becoming vague memories.
translated by David Westacott
Installation View, “Best Of…”, Galerie Raum mit Licht, Vienna 2012
Photo: Amélie Chapalain