Maria Hahnenkamp

Maria Hahnenkamp deals with the topic of the (primarily female) body and the everyday images, symbolic poses and rituals (including technical processes) via which this body is staged. She pursues the fascination that these images evoke in us—not to critically discard them, but rather to insert a level on which she produces a reflexive and at the same time sensitive view of them. This means that she not only refers to a particular iconography, that is to say, to stereotype female images, but also considers the process of perception and the structurally associated process of image construction in her work on these images or objects, in some cases also making use of linguistic contexts. Hahnenkamp questions the photographic image itself; in other words, this medium’s conventions as well as its materiality in terms of the picture’s surface or the frame that she works on, both to undermine the imaginary construct of the “female” body and to bring the aspect of the vulnerable and physical into play via a performatively charged counter-figure. An artistic tool employed in varying ways remains the overlapping of image surfaces by ornaments that the artist has embroidered or stitched on it by hand, the models for which come from monasteries’ books of patterns. Another of Hahnenkamp’s procedures consists in not only adding to photographic surfaces, but also taking something away from them by sanding them off. The moment which these processes of photo manipulation have in common consists in the subtle linkage of embellishment with disciplining and a latent aggression via which Hahnenkamp maintains the imaginary transformative process between (female) subject and the gaze, between the constitution of imagery and symbolic representation, while also making this process visible on various formal and technical levels.



1959, Eisenstadt / AT


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