Buildings and Figures
Buildings and Figures
Ongoing disappearance mixed with elements of growth, makes places and things seem unreal.
A touch of the unreal can be more powerful than any reality – if one can discern it.
Excised from sleepy disorder, they reveal themselves through my viewing of them: places and things with demands, peripheries and Eastern Europe, a miniature wonderland, a children’s merry-go-round – all ceasing to exist in this way after I have left.
© Stefanie Grebe 28/07/2015
Ute Behrend – Buildings and Figures
Although Ute Behrend’s associative photographic diptychs appear to show clearly identifiable fragments of reality, they evade any real definition through their poetry. Only inside the viewer’s mind do they begin to resonate; nonetheless, there is plenty that can be said about their creation and content.
Ute Behrend researches the places where she takes her photographs with great care and effort. She is guided by an idea and then works as rooted in reality as a journalist. And this research can lead her far and wide. For example to Georgia, a country in which many different layers of time can be experienced and where several of the photographer’s visions have already become structurally manifest. Another set of places right at the top of the photographer’s list are real-unreal miniature worlds and theme parks—themselves references to a reality that does not reveal its status when photographed.
The structures and places in Ute Behrend’s photographs are cultural expressions of the national and international ideas and values inscribed in them, they are symbolisations of a kind of thinking and planning that marginalises the human being. Even the documentary depiction of these places can be understood as a critique. The artificiality of the photographic gaze is emphasised by the portrait format framing and a focusing takes place on a fragmentary aspect of that which is shown.
The first step in the creation of “Buildings and Figures” is journalistic and documentary; a new connection arises through the combination of the image pairs, one that seems compulsory due to the formal strictness—the pairs of images connect with utmost precision—and the photographs are completely freed of their initial context. We never find a clue to the exemplary nature or site of the photographs, neither through words in the actual images nor their titles. From this we can deduce that it is important to the artist to not name the place of origin, in order that new readings are made possible.
New perceptual spaces, statements and condensations, which are far removed from the reality-based research that precedes the work, first arise through the combination of the images. Ute Behrend’s short poetic text prefixing her book describes her artistic work precisely and leaves the viewer to fend for themself: they are forced to engage, to follow the images and to permit the flow of their own thoughts and sensations.