Photography is the central subject and medium of the Austrian artist Anja Manfredi, whose comprehensive retrospective was presented by OstLicht Gallery. The show included about 60 works, dating from 2000 to 2013, which unfold numerous reference points of the photographic discourse, setting it in motion, so to speak. The focus was on the human body and its complex gestures.
The exhibition highlighted mainly latest up to date works by the artist, juxtaposing them with selected pieces from her unpublished early works and her well-known »Archiv der Bewegungen« (Archive of Movements, 2005–2007). Photographs, film projections and object installations enter into a mutual dialogue, including such diverse motifs as a photographer’s posing chair, oriental carpets and plants in developing dishes; these elements are interrupted and rhythmised by interspersed photographs of drawings that translate physical movement into patterns of abstract lines (»Eine Geste wird belichtet« [Exposure of a gesture], Part 1, 2012).
The principle of collage characterizes Manfredi’s working method. She produces photographic tableaus which play with images within images, creating concentrations and evoking associations. During her early years, her material comprised extensive staging and figures of her own body; in the meantime, she also draws upon image and text reproductions from various printed sources as well as photographs of re-enactments. With these re-creations and interpretations, executed by people from her artistic and scientific circle, Manfredi reflects historic body concepts and social conventions – for example the 19th century’s discourse on hysteria (»Wiener Teppichläden« [Vienna carpet stores], 2013) or the beginnings of modern expressive dance (»Re-Enacting Isadora Duncan with Robert Lima I«, 2009).
The importance of the analogous, of the photographic act and process, is essential to Anja Manfredi’s art. The question of what photography, that strange process of writing with light, is, accompanies her activities with an intensity that permits us to diagnose her with »photography as a philosophy of life« (Vilèm Flusser). The latter is embodied especially well and pointedly in »Selbstbildnis mit Graukarte und Zahnschmerzen« (Self-portrait with grey chart and toothache, 2013).
The photographs are available for sale.
IMPRESSIONS FROM THE OPENING