The body of work 23197 is shown in the solo exhibition Loredana Nemes. GreedFearLove in the museum Berlinische Galerie in Berlin till October 15, 2018.
“Whereas sharp focus was crucial to Greed, lack of focus is equally important in the recently completed series 23197 . Ever since the origins of photography, this device has been used repeatedly to enhance the emotional impact of images. Around 1900, for example, it was the Pictorialists who promoted this effect.
Loredana Nemes uses the fuzzy focus here to deal with a very personal experience of fear. To combine the oppressive, debilitating feeling this unleashed in her with a profound and widespread social unease, she selected a motif that has become disturbingly ubiquitous in conjunction with current acts of terrorism: the growing number of attacks involving trucks in many parts of the world.
She did not photograph these trucks, as one might imagine, in a hard-pressed environment of urban traffic, but fictionalized a threat by placing her camera head on towards parked vehicles a few meters away, and then setting the high-definition lens of her medium-format camera so strangely out of focus that the vehicles vanished almost completely in a kind of fog. Even if abstraction was not itself the purpose of these images, this technique permits some idea of the traumatic moment that occurs when a person confronts a life-threatening danger. In the moment of fear, our nerve cells react and subconsciously trigger all kinds of unexpected responses.
The viewer only begins to grasp this irrational threat after a typological comparison of recurrent technical features, such as windscreens, radiator grills, and headlights. At this point, the images lose their introspective innocence and emerge from the mist like “faces” with varying levels of tension. In this context, color not only reinforces the anthropomorphic mechanism, but becomes a trigger and reflex in an individual experience of a state of mind. The aesthetic quality of these photographs is overshadowed by the confrontation with imminent death.
In this sense, the twenty works in 23197 are fuzzy “portraits” reminiscent of the blurred male and female portraits by Dunja Evers, which attracted attention in the late 1990s, and of the flickering, horizontally layered, colored surfaces by Mark Rothko.
To raise awareness, on another level, of these dimensions of anxiety that can disturb and oppress us so deeply, Loredana Nemes complemented her photographs with permutations, conjugations, and an alphabet of fear. These are verbal associations which, like the variations on the letters in ANGST [FEAR], convey a sense of being trapped inside a mental state. In metaphorical terms, this approach to confronting reality also indicates an escape route by emphasizing the need to seize an initiative and take action.”
From: Ulrich Domröse, Greed Fear Love. Text for the publication GreedFearLove, Hartmann Projects, 2018