Photographic works by Lise Chevalier and Wolfram Hahn
Both a description and an imperative, Walk the Line presents serial works by Lise Chevalier and Wolfram Hahn that define the contents of a limited territory and encourage the viewer to occupy the space within the border. In each photographic series, a non-specific site is transformed into something particular: the undefined nature of public space becomes specific, revealing new potentials for a location or uncovering truths that have gone overlooked.
Chevalier´s Anonymes Monument documents a monument built and tended to by the artist over two days in January 2009 in Berlin´s Kreuzberg. The work contains macro images focusing on obscure details of the original monument, accompanied by a linear text that narrates the process.
Along the way, strangers become curious and involved, questioning the motives behind this event. As the text reveals, some passersby use the monument as an occasion for personal reflection, wandering around the site in contemplative engagement. In the exhibition, the images and text circle the lower gallery space, inviting the visitor to „walk the lineâ€and re-live the moment captured. In Chevalier´s work, random space morphs into specified territory: the site of an action is given context via the photographs and text strips, consequently modifying the viewer´s perception and the work´s meaning.
In Wellington Pompidou, Hahn investigates gas pipelines that climb the hills of Wellington, New Zealand. Photographed in June 2008, the pipelines are identifiable by an occasional stroke of blue color or, more often, simply by their structure and placement. In this series, the gas lines (or, in a few instances, water pipes) emerge on the surface of the hillside amidst greenery and gravel siding. Calling to mind energy, warmth and security, the pipelines serve as ciphers for their function but also reference a potential danger: if the stability of their structure is even slightly disturbed, a local threat would be immanent. With these images, the visitor to the exhibition retraces Hahn´s steps and the ambiguity of this public space in Wellington fades behind an apparent function. By „walking the lineâ€of Hahn´s work, the ordinary becomes something extraordinary, balancing on the border between comfort and potential threat.
Also included in the exhibition is an untitled series of photographs by Hahn depicting abandoned or derelict places in Berlin´s city center. Seemingly without a proprietor, these spaces are used or overtaken by a barely perceptible person in each image. While the purpose of each space remains unclear, its functional potential is highlighted by the subtle presence of a person in movement. Similar to Chevalier´s Anonymes Monument, the pictured location is defined as the site of an action, shifting from unspecified space to useful territory through the particular moment presented to the viewer. Each nearly invisible individual seemingly becomes the owner of the public space in which he is shown, raising the question: who is the persona non grata? The identity of the trespasser in Hahn´s work is malleable: while the person photographed at first seems to be unwelcome, both the photographer and the viewer quickly become implicated, potentially treading on someone else´s territory. Maia Gianakos Berlin, May 2009
Die Ausstellung läuft vom 19.06 bis 18.07.2009
Exposition du 19/06 au 18/07/2009
14 rue Aristide Ollivier
34 000 Montpellier