Annette Kelm is one of the most prominent contemporary German artists in the medium of photography. She explores the traditional forms of photographic representation while using conventional analog techniques with an uncanny effect; her art rendering something that is vaguely familiar but raises a discomfort and anxiety because of an ambiguous difference that is hard to trace. Born in Stuttgart in 1975 and graduated from The Hochschule für bildende Künste in Hamburg, she has been living in Berlin since 2000. With a new view on photography, Annette confronts us with a unique pictorial language, combining a sense of objectivity and precise formal construction, with perfect illumination without shadows and defamiliarizing narratives.
Exhibition of Seemingly Artistic Insignificance and Concealed References
In spite of having a diverse variety of motifs, this artist usually works in standard genres of still-life, landscape, and the portrait that fall in the range of American post-conceptual practice. She has also been associated with the Düsseldorf School of photographers. Annette explores intersections of documentary and advertising genres using a matter-of-fact and frontal approach. A big amount of her work is untitled and it plays a part in her concept. Creating symmetry of a seemingly artistic insignificance and concealed historical, economic and cultural references, she underlines her engagement with current cross-cultural issues such as globalization, alienation, urbanization, consumerism etc. However, having a perfectly good taste with an elegant sense of humor, she manages to make a balance between static images and their hermetic conceptual dynamism.
Repetition and Difference in View
With a high critical awareness for the means of production, this multifaceted art goes towards the exploration of cultural codes and sign systems inherent to the medium of photography. Annette usually shoots with a large-format camera and is famous for rejecting digital practices in favor of using analog techniques for creating pictures. In a single image, she mixes several genres through a series of a single motive. The photos have a strange domestic sensuality and casualness in them; reoccurring motives of plants, cars, flowers, everyday items, patterned textiles are meticulously prepared in view of a certain misplacement. She is famous for her paisley picture series of textile patterns from the American designer Dorothy Draper.
Strange domestic sensuality
Alienated Functions of Portrayed Objects in Kelm’s Photography
By highlighting that special misalignment she creates a distance from portrayed artifacts and investigates the disruption between the sculptural role of selected objects and alienation from their usual function. An internationally praised and acknowledged artist, she has a long exhibition history in worldwide institutions and galleries, one of them being Gallery Andrew Kreps from New York. The important exibition for her career was The New photography exhibition series in the Museum of Modern Art in 2013.
Annette Kelm lives and works in Berlin, Germany.
Featured image: Annette Kelm – Photo of the artist in front of her work – Image via mmk-notes.com
All images used for illustrative purposes only