OstLicht Gallery presents the work of Martin Schoeller for the first time in Austria, with a selection from his series »Close Up«, »Portraits«, »Identical«, »Transgender« and »Female Bodybuilder«.
In the internationally acclaimed series »Close Up«, the portraits of well-known personalities confront us eye-to-eye, intimate and unprotected, in the form of oversized blow-ups. Since the 1990s Martin Schoeller has staged the portraits of his models as spectacular close-ups in a recurring way: he defines the eye level and positions his camera at the same height; instead of a flash he uses soft neon light, creating the effect of luminous eyes which is so characteristic for his work. By exercising total control, the artist relieves his models of all attempts of self-staging and performing. Nothing remains hidden: Every wrinkle, every birthmark is open to scrutiny and each individual trait is exeggerated to hyperreality.
Nevertheless, there is hardly a star who has not already taken a seat in front of Martin Schoeller’s camera. From Angela Merkel and Valentino to Paris Hilton – all accepted the uncompromising rules, which make Schoeller’s style so unique. With a reduced use of make-up and a recurring camera perspective and lighting his photographic practice is characterized by a levelling and democratic manner: The same rules apply to everybody.
However, Martin Shoeller does not only photograph celebritites. With his clear and straightforward aesthetics he portrayes people, who are in the process of changing their sex in the »Transgender« series, or women athlets with their steel-like muscles which appear almost as bust sculptures in »Female Bodybuilder«. The group of works entitled »Identical« shows double portraits of twins – a fascinating exploration of questions of identity.
In the colourful scenes of the series »Portraits« Martin Schoeller again plays with the image of celebrities and the clichés attributed to them. The photographer positions them in a setting planned down to the smallest detail: Bill Murray is playing golf in a hotel room, Elon Musk is depicted with his five sonsin a car service station, and Marina Abramović is in the subway surrounded by naked passangers.
The exhibition is co-curated by Anke Degenhard.
IMPRESSIONS FROM THE OPENING