Saturday, January 26, 2013

David Muth

David Muth is an artist, musician and programmer. Having grown up in Salzburg, Austria, he relocated to the UK to study at Middlesex University, where he received an MA in Digital Arts. He currently lives and works in London, Vienna and Turku. His artistic practice combines conceptual and experimental approaches and is informed by his background in architecture. His projects range from installations and responsive environments, through
video and experimental documentary, to composition and performance of music. Muth’s work has been shown on numerous occasions internationally, with venues and events including the Musée d’Art Contemporain in Montreal, the Kiasma Museum of Modern Art in Helsinki, Ars Electronica in Linz, ISEA2006 in San Jose, Le Cube in Paris, Montevideo in Amsterdam, Laboral in Gijón, SIGGRAPH2009 in New Orleans and the Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid. He also teaches at Goldsmiths and the Royal College of Art.

View more of David's work here:

Photographic Translations / Unadorned Scenes. On David Muth's Series "Settings" Essay by: Patricia Grzonka

The visible and the speakable, the unspeakable and the invisible: it seems that the photographs of David Muth's series Settings explain themselves easily. The images show domestic environments, scenes of lifeworlds in the country, in the village, in the city. Outside views as well as interior ones, extracts from everyday living environments in various regions and cities. There are no panorama-like views, but mostly details of architectural complexes that Muth brings into view - whereby we usually have to add the context of the subject ourselves and therefore are more focussed on the structure of the image. Thus, we see a garage door, but without the house it belongs to; our attention shifts to the particularities of this unspectacular view - onto details such as the hedge, the floor joint, the gutter. Another image provides insight into an interior: the view looses itself over the particular design of a closet, one is puzzled about the grain of the wood, the door knob - and about what specifics are hidden behind this anonymous design. Or a situation in a corridor: a closed door, with carefully arranged objects in front, a folding chair, empty flower pots on a wall shelf - they all point beyond the image and in their arrangement remind of classical principles of composition in painting.

However, it remains undecided whether a certain creative drive has manifested itself here - or on the very contrary its absence lets the setting appear banal on the one side whilst providing it with an ironic charm on the other. Herein, the representation of the human trace becomes an invisible thread that connects us to the collective body of society. By all radicalism, however, David Muth's unadorned scenes are not subject to any gestures of social display, they remain ambiguous. In fact, Muth declares the image to a venue of discrepancy between actual lifeworld and hypothetical psychogram, hence to a game between fiction and reality, between conventional mode of representation and artistic expression. 

Thus all shots - analogue largeformat photographs, which are connected to the original "imprint" that left its traces in this medium (Roland Barthes) almost paradigmatically - communicate the impression of extraordinary tidiness, as if something should have been covered up. It is the incongruity of representation and its effect itself that is of relevance here. The title Settings also emphasises the constructed character of the images: it underlines the arranged, the staged of the scenes - so that even on the text level a vague feeling of the over-tidy, of the manipulated is being suggested. "In Latin "photography" probably would be called "imago lucis opera expressa", that means: through the action of light revealed, "stepped forward", " risen", (like the juice of a lemon) "squashed" image." (Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida)

Solo Exhibition Photographic Gallery Hippolyte in Helsinki, Finland until May 1, 2013

No comments:

Post a Comment