Andrea van der Straeten
Remote Horizon

MAR 11 – APR 22, 2022

Das Zittern des Weltzusammenhangs
(The shaking of the world's connection)

Remote Horizon is Andrea van der Straeten's second solo exhibition in the gallery Raum mit Licht. It takes place during the photography festival FOTO WIEN. The artist was born in Trier in 1953. She lives in Vienna since 1987. She works in the media such as photography, graphics, film, video, and performative techniques. She also produces artist's books, sound works and installations. A frequently recurring element is language, which she uses as material in very different ways, sometimes with a certain hardness and conciseness, sometimes with great sensitivity and a fine sense of poetry.

Compared to previous exhibitions, however, language plays a secondary role in this exhibition. The works are united by an artistic interest in ambivalent image structures, media translation processes, the fragility of the material, but also that of being itself.

The exhibition comprises artworks from 32 years. Therefore, it also functions as a courageous revision of the artist's own working methods since the 1990s, questioning old certainties. Many works have a strongly emblematic character. They show surfaces in a state of instability and disruption. But it is precisely where their fascination and beauty come from.

The series “Collision”, published in 2020 as an artist's book, combines photos of violently broken shop windows in various cities with blurred images of brightly coloured flowers. The breakage patterns are the result of attempted break-ins or social unrest. Instead of shattering, the safety glass forms a nature-like structure reminiscent of bizarre spider webs with a unique aesthetic.

While the impacts of punctual moments in time are presented here, Andrea van der Straeten focuses more on time and space continuities in her works such as “Remote Horizon” (2021) or “Territory” (2021). On display are images - photographed by using transmitted light - of bed sheets that were woven by hand at the beginning of the 20th century. Through their frequent use, but also through acts of repair, they have become very distinctive “individuals”, which also reveal the history of their use. Andrea van der Straeten, however, is less interested in the narrative content of the patched sheets than in the delicate act of translating them into photographic images. At the same time, these works also show a great visual affinity with cartographic and topographical representations or landscape images.

Thus, they perhaps also form a bridge to those works that deal even more directly with phenomena of nature or geological processes. For example, the work “Hush,Hush!” (1992) shows images of the carpet crocodile fish, a virtuoso of mimesis that can perfectly adapt its skin surface to the colours and patterns of the seabed. The four Polaroid shots of the work “08/2015” (2015), on the other hand, show bizarre clay rock forms that have suddenly grown out of the earth.

Andrea van der Straeten's works “Falter #1,#2,#3” (2021) use a free font developed from research on insect legs by the French designer Alice Savoie which she prints on fabrics with floral patterns. Another text work is the two-part black and white photograph “Falcons and Sparrows” (1990), based on a literary quotation by T.S. Eliot.

Finally, the video “Nervous Yellow” (2020) highlights the nervous shaking of the world's connection that is present throughout the exhibition, in the form of a lemon enthroned on a spiral-shaped metal egg cup that vibrates incessantly.

Nicole Büsing and Heiko Klaas

10. 2. 2022


Fotos: Kunst-Dokumentation and Jorit Aust (1 & 13)

See also: Remote Horizon (photography) | Territory (photography) | Galerie Raum mit Licht