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Claudia Fährenkemper
*1959 Castrop-Rauxel - D

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ARMOR Series
120 x 100 cm / 48" x 40", Edition of 3 + 1 AP
60 x 50 cm / 24" x 20", Edition of 8 + 1 AP

click on image to zoom and for details

ARMOR
Artist Statement
>>> below

Zen-Sehen (Thoughts and Sights)
Text by Chuha Chung
>>> below

 
 
Armor B 01-13-3 Armor_B_02-13-3 Armor_D_02-11-3

Armor B 01-13-3
courtesy Braunschweigisches Landesmuseum

Armor B 02-13-3
courtesy Braunschweigisches Landesmuseum

Armor D 02-11-3
courtesy Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden
Armor_D_05-11-3 Armor_M_01-13-3 Armor_N_01-13-3

Armor D 05-11-3
courtesy Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden

Armor M 01-13-3
courtesy State Library and Museum of Victoria,
Melbourne, Australia

Armor N 01-13-3
courtesy Germanisches Nationalmsueum, Nürnberg
Armor_N_05-13-3 Armor_N_07-13-1 Armor_W_01-11-1

Armor N 05-13-3
courtesy Germanisches Nationalmsueum, Nürnberg

Armor N 07-13-1
courtesy Germanisches Nationalmsueum, Nürnberg

Armor W 01-11-1
courtesy Kunsthistorisches Museum, Wien
Armor_W_02-11-2 Armor_W_02-11-3 Armor_W_03-11-2

Armor W 02-11-2
courtesy Kunsthistorisches Museum, Wien

Armor W 02-11-3
courtesy Kunsthistorisches Museum, Wien

Armor W 03-11-2
courtesy Kunsthistorisches Museum, Wien
Armor_W_04-11-4 Armor_W_05-11-4 Armor_W_07-11-2

Armor W 04-11-4
courtesy Kunsthistorisches Museum, Wien

Armor W 05-11-4
courtesy Kunsthistorisches Museum, Wien

Armor W 07-11-2
courtesy Kunsthistorisches Museum, Wien
Armor_W_08-11-1 Armor_W_08-11-2 Armor_W_09-11-1

Armor W 08-11-1
courtesy Kunsthistorisches Museum, Wien

Armor W 08-11-2
courtesy Kunsthistorisches Museum, Wien

Armor W 09-11-1
courtesy Kunsthistorisches Museum, Wien
Armor_W_09-11-3    

Armor W 09-11-3
courtesy Kunsthistorisches Museum, Wien
   
Armor_C_01 Armor_C_02 Armor_C_03

Armor CC 01-16-1
courtesy Denys Eyre Bower Bequest
at Chiddingston Castle, UK

Armor CC 03-16-4
courtesy Denys Eyre Bower Bequest
at Chiddingston Castle, UK

Armor CC 04-16-3
courtesy Denys Eyre Bower Bequest
at Chiddingston Castle, UK
Armor_C_04    

Armor CC 05-16-4
courtesy Denys Eyre Bower Bequest
at Chiddingston Castle, UK
   
 
 

ARMOR
Artist Statement

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Die „ARMOR“-Arbeiten widmen sich repräsentativen Prunk- und Turnierrüstungen, die eigens für Kaiser, Könige und große Feldherren zwischen dem 15. und 17. Jahrhundert angefertigt wurden und die weltweit in bedeutenden Militaria- und Rüstungssammlungen anzutreffen sind.
Die Aufnahmen sind überwiegend in der Hofjagd- und Rüstkammer des Kunsthistorischen Museums Wien entstanden, aber auch in den Sammlungen des Braunschweigischen Landesmuseums, des Germanischen Nationalmuseums in Nürnberg und den Staatlichen Museen der Stadt Dresden. Aber auch die ungewöhnliche Ned-Kelly-Rüstung aus der State Library of Victoria im australischen Melbourne ist Bestandteil der Serie.

Form, Ausstattung und Emblematik der Rüstungen, ihre skulpturale Qualität faszinieren mich ebenso wie die Vorstellung, dass historische Personen diese Rüstungen als schützende Gehäuse leibhaftig getragen haben.

Die Aufnahmen sind als Brustportraits angelegt, da es mir nicht um die Dokumentation von unterschiedlichen Rüstungstypen geht, sondern um die skulpturale und materielle Präsenz der Harnische und somit der in absentia „Portraitierten“.
Aus ihrem musealen Präsentationszusammenhang entbunden, fotografiere ich sie vor neutralem, meist dunklem Hintergrund, analog und mit vorhandenem Licht mit einer Großformatkamera.
Wesentlich dafür, wie der ferne Träger uns als menschliches Wesen hier vor Augen tritt, ist die Konzentration auf das Brustportrait, die Wahl der Perspektive, welche die Ausrichtung (Blickrichtung) und die Neigung des Helmes bestimmen. Auf diese Weise lassen uns die Brustportraits der Harnische nicht nur auf vergangenes Leben zurückblicken, sondern sie bieten auch Anlass, unser aktuelles Dasein im historischen Kontext zu reflektieren. Gleichzeitig aber lassen sie durch Anklänge an Science Fiction auch eine Ahnung vom vage Zukünftigen vor uns erstehen.

„ARMOR“ erzählt von Glaube, Liebe, Hoffnung, von Verletzlichkeit, aber auch von Macht und Reichtum. Die Rüstungen demonstrieren außergewöhnliches handwerkliches Können, großen Aufwand, sowie wechselnde Moden, denen auch die Gestaltung der Harnische unterliegen.

Was bleibt von uns Menschen in unseren Artefakten erhalten und überdauert materiell, aber auch als kulturelles Erbe, geistige und emotionale Hinterlassenschaft die Jahrhunderte?

Die zunehmende Bedrohung durch Gewalt und Terror weltweit war Auslöser für meine Beschäftigung mit Rüstungen und Rittern seit 2010.

Claudia Fährenkemper

The "ARMOR" series deals with the representative parade and tournament suits of armor, which were made especially for emperors, kings and great generals from the 15th to the 17th centuries and which are found in important militaria and armor collections worldwide.
The images mainly originated at the Collection of Arms and Armour in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, but also in the collections of such German museums as the Braunschweigisches Landesmuseum, the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg and the Dresden State Art Collections. In addition, the unusual Ned Kelly armor at the State Library of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia was also included in the series.

I was just as much fascinated by the form, features and emblems of the armor along with their sculptural quality as by the idea that historical figures in person had worn their suits of armor as a protective shell.

The images are all bust portraits since my intention was to "portray" the sculptural and material presence of the suit of armor and as such, the historical figure in absentia instead of documenting different types of armor. Released from the context of their museum presentation, I photographed them in front of a neutral, usually dark background using an analogue large-format camera and the ambient light.

While I was photographing, each long-gone bearer appeared before my eyes as a human character. It was the way I concentrated on portraying his bust, i.e. the choice of perspective, which defined the focus (the direction he was gazing in) and the tilt of his helmet. A character from the past was never just a lifeless shell. In so doing, the bust portraits of the men in armor not only allow us to look back on past human lives, but also give us a chance to reflect on our current lives. The occasional reminders of science fiction sometimes give us a premonition of the vague future. Some of them even become visions of science fiction characters in the future.

"ARMOR" relates faith, love and hope to us. It tells us of the vulnerability and also of the power and wealth. The suits of armor demonstrate unusual craftsmanship and great efforts. There were different designs that show how styles changed as time went along.

What will we as human beings leave behind in our artefacts and will they outlast us in a tangible form? What will be our cultural, spiritual and emotional heritage in the ages to come?

In 2010, the growing threat of violence and terror worldwide inspired my project on suits of armor and knights.

Claudia Fährenkemper

 
 

Zen-Sehen(Thoughts and Sights)
Text by Chuha Chung

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Claudia Fährenkemper and Josef Šnobl are artists from central Germany.

I was going through some information about the two but soon I had to give up.

To take/do photographs one must stand in front of the object. The light approaches me after reflecting off the object and gathers into a piece of image. Therefore it is very simple to make photographs. Whoever in possession of a tool that can accumulate light and have the will to stand ‘in front of it’ can easily take photographs. Thanks to such simple method, the entire world teems with photographers, and photography has deeply penetrated into the everyday lives of the individuals. Moreover, with the dazzling development of digital imagery the tool has become simpler yet much more diverse which led to the usage of photography in equipment other than cameras to further enhance its functionality. For instance, camera in conjunction with the phone, or attached to a moving object can capture what photographers/humans have not seen or have refused to see before. Then ultimately we live in an era where image/video is in excess/surplus and furthermore are forced to accept the utterly different reality (simulation). The question of ‘what is reality’ has been spreading further and before finding the answer to that question one must ask the ‘borderline’ in between. Like the body of a man with two objects inside (in the form of symmetry), we come to a point where we permit reality and fiction as one mass. Without borders.
However one question remains unchanged despite such profound shifts and transformations. If not for photographs made by fabrication, in other words, if it is not a picture, a photographer must stand in front of it no matter what. Why? Why does it have to be in front of it?

This is the issue Claudia Fährenkemper clings to. Her views are straight forward. Without being distracted her eyes pierce deeply into the essence of the object. Every subject she has worked on so far is in some form of medium. They are a tool to obtain very important energy for human life (Photograph 1), little bugs living in between humans and nature (Photograph 2) or objects that verify the conflict amongst humans (Photograph 3). Yet the social/political/ethical concept or meanings of these subjects are seemingly meaningless to her. She does not judge them. It is not the history or relationship of these subjects that matter to her, but she indulges in them as they are. Therefore what we can absorb from her photographs precedes the materialism within the form and surface of that subject. Since she has not come to a conclusion already, we will be trying too hard if we jumped in and gave meaning to the subject. However, I wish to reveal my desire to do exactly that at this moment.

The first subject of her work had been ‘machines’ in enormous sizes. The objects recreated on large scaled black and white prints yet appear as though they are living beings with warm blood pumping through their veins. Although they are machines standing still in calm atmosphere, they are placed at a workshop. The image is taken at the scene where the machines had been at work for a long period of time. That is why there are no disparate collision between the subjects and their background. The machines laid in the very quiet scenery simply appear as though they are metaphorically presenting their achievements. Thus we the viewers can

discover that touching point linking us with the subject from that cold piece of metal, because the work of this machine will bring change to the human life. Also, the machine itself is an object of beauty. It is so because they are objects that underwent formative production and the fact that it stands with simple nature as its background suggests formativeness. The warmth coming from the crossing paths of superficial beauty and the relationship brings us the warmth of same degree to those of us who see her images. That is the power of photography.

It is always surprising to see a project of the same artist that is drastically different. It is so at least when it is not about the superficial looks but when it comes down to the issue of appreciation/sentiments felt when coming in contact with the image. Claudia Fährenkemper’s <Armor> exhibited by Goeun Museum of Photography in Busan is a project of the same material. Steel. They are armors made from steel quite like the ones used to make the machines. I smell ‘blood’ from this project. These photographs stressing the objects seen from the side set in a dark background are armors with distinctive traces of long, long time. What are armors? They are instruments yearning for blood of the others, or already soaked in the blood of the others. A clear picture filled with the strong urge to fight each other in the middle of a battle field comes to my mind. It can be described in detail. On the surface of the armor are numerous traces. Regardless of whether this armor was summoned to the battlefield or not, we can travel into the battle following these traces. At the same time, like in the 4D theaters, we may sense the chaotic smell of blood. Still the eyes of photography are accompanied by the fascinating texture. From the surface of this particular work that was probably exposed to a continuous lighting, the beautiful sense of texture and strong hues distinctive of fiber-based paper in black and white as well as various effects created by the artist in the dark room exposing the image to light are all evident. It functions as a device that filters or releases the bloody scent of war that we just smelled moments ago.

The method used by <Imago> that will be exhibited together with these projects is even more microscopic. Yet the approach on the insects that live on the border of the seen and unseen is very macro. It is because the work overcomes the limits of our eyes, using tools to get closer than a certain distance allowed to human beings. Do all things on the borderline require a tool? To uncover the insides of the ground that can’t be seen, to explore again the invisible traces of the past, and as in this case to see certain small objects that exist but cannot be sensed by the eyes, we do need equipment. Claudia Fährenkemper uses the equipment as a subject and as a channel. In other words, subjects and tools are interfused together without a border. Just inside this deranged border huddles Claudia Fährenkemper with her large eyes raised up to look at us. That is the form of <Imago>. Such method of hers delivers us with a certain illusion that is different from the image acquired from the previous relationship we had so far with the bugs. It is not just about the meaning coming from the visible forms but also the image that also shows the subjective feelings that I can imagine. Through the image depicting the insects, I can once again return to the original stereotype that I already had. Perhaps this is the opposite of ‘Equivalent’ that Alfred Stieglitz tried so hard in his last years to stress. It is not about being reminded of something similar after seeing an object, but about creating a stereotype for the object through the prejudice that resides in me already.

In this way, multiple attitudes dwell in Claudia Fährenkemper’s work(s).

ChuHa Chung(Photographer, Prof. of Paekche Institute of the Art)

 
   

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www.claudia-faehrenkemper.com
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