The question of the identity and issues around representation, self-representation, and the staging of the “I”, influenced a variety of artists throughout different movements and periods in art history. The exploration of representation also forms the basis for the practice of German artists Andreas Lau and Reinhard Voss. While Andreas Lau art critically questions habits of seeing, Reinhard Voss art revolves around the hidden interior, familiarity and foreignness, identity and the individual. The latest body of work by these two contemporary artists will soon be on view at Galerie Benjamin Eck in a duo exposition simply titled Identity.
With the birth of photography and the development of technology, the questions around the presentation of the “I”, and the construction of the self became a dominating topic for artists, as well as theoreticians and philosophers. Becoming an object of ever new interpretation, the presentation of identity can often be grasped only by intuition and empathy, but not pure understanding, from the outside. It can be argued that identity is fluid and under constant construction. In order to understand his place in the world, an individual often needs to understand different roles that need to be acted out. Artists often form different identities through self-portraits that reflect their self-perception, or through a complete development and re-invention of their image and personality.
Strongly represented in the media, the identity is formed and adulterated from images that are comprised of tiny pixels with no single meaning. Additionally, each image representation is only a tiny pixel in a mass of representations that are all around us. This question of what is pictured and what remains to be seen is the focus of Andreas Lau’s practice. Disassembling his motifs in dots or lines, dissecting the depicted into various elements, the artist encodes the image. The closer you get to his large-format works, the more you get away from their contents. The image is formed from the sum of its parts. On the other hand, artist Reinhard Voss designs identity by the variety of material and shape. He creates different shapes of heads and faces from fragments of wood with varying structure and grain that are joined together. Yet, with an impression of an empty face, these faces do not provide information about their identity.
With their work, Andreas Lau and Reinhard Voss provide a small insight into the unfathomable mystery of the representation of identity. This artistic search for identity eventually leads the creator of the work. The exhibition Identity of Andreas Lau and Reinhard Voss art will be on view at Galerie Benjamin Eck in Munich, Pestalozzistr. 14, from May 6th until June 17th, 2017. The vernissage will be held on May 5th, from 7 to 10 p.m.
Featured images: Reinhard Voss - Formato Orizzontale, 2011; Andreas Lau - Ham (Space monkey), 2017 (detail); All images courtesy of Galerie Benjamin Eck.