Statement Sonja Feldmeier (E)

From 2000 on I spend a good part of my life in large cities (New York, Berlin, Los Angeles, Tokyo, London, Delhi). The usually tiny studios inspired me to expand my working space to the urban fabric. By opening up my work scope and appropriating the city structures I developed new working methods, and on extended forays in these cities I started to collect images. Over the years they have grown into a comprehensive photo and video archive. The street scenes an fragments I captured with my camera form the basic material for my video work. Scenes an actions by unwitting performers who never met each other are woven into stories and show an assembled reality. Continuously enlarged from a variety of sources, the various photo and image collections and the video archive serve as building blocks, as a pool of ideas or as an inspiration for specific works.

By peeling the regular context away from the images and then embedding them in new structures, they lose their connection to a certain form or instigator. I am interested in what happens when they are reassociated, how the image and its meaning change in a new context. I start looking for images where they appear in a media context and inquire into their status. That is to say I am looking for contexts in which the interpretation of images is patently obvious. By then taking the images out of their given interpretive context, rearranging them or feeding them into other image systems, I make this obvious aspect collapse. In pieces such as Meter hinter dem Meeresspiegel (meters behind sea level) it even takes several transformation processes to produce the final work: a map of a fictitious territory. The purported truth of the image content loses its validity and the released elements of significance within the image can be re-associated.

My work is not bound to a specific medium. Material and medium are part of the content, the story, the work. I’m looking for the form that will transport the work’s topic in a coherent way. In order to find the appropriate form – my «image supports» – for the topic, unique transformation processes for each work are required. The labor input and its specific character are part of the artistic process and contribute to the formal and substantial character of the work.

The process of an image’s disassociation and transformation is accomplished when it is looked at by the spectator. Yet again the image is disassociated from its presentation context and projected onto the viewer’s retina. Disconnected once more from its material manifestation it is meant to evoke by contemplation an image model suitable for further thought.

The image is in its form alsways stronger than what is brought to it from viewers, users and interpreters. The image marks a boundary, a permeable invisible threshold. On this side of the treshold, there is society, politics, interpretation, interest. On the other side, something else begins.

Sonja Feldmeier
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