A.I. is pleased to be participating in the 4th edition of PhotoLondon at Somerset House, London. We are presenting a new body of works by Fiona Struengmann (b. 1986, Germany) titled Just Like You, But Different (2017-18). Our booth, located in the Discovery Section, will feature a selection of small archive works as well as signed limited editions of the artist’s self-publication under the same series title.
Struengmann's primary interest lies in the shifting boundaries within the photographic medium. The artist's practice often explores the parallel between photography and drawing. Using experimental techniques, her practice has evolved to challenge the engagement with surface, light, negative and positive and the trace; the sense of an invisible ‘apparatus’ (the camera, pen or needle).
The exhibited works are found-images of Germany, shot by the first generation of citizen photographers between 1920 to 1950 which the artist has re-contextualised into different and speculative personal histories. The fragmented recollections are achieved by either erasing or partially drawing on the image with a needle and oil paint. In doing so, the artist seeks to interrogate and augment the subjective nature of our documented memories. Individual details and certain motifs in each image become the central focus of the works, emanating a more fragile and granular narrative from the past. The title of the series intimates to the audience at once with the familiar and obscure, the interconnected and offbeat.
In the artist’s own words:
“I recently came across an archive of around 7000 photographs that a woman had been collecting over a duration of 50 years. Whist I’ve often admired the ephemera of photographs from the past, there was something particular about this collection that spoke to me. These photographs carried messages of families, places and moments of time -fragments of lost memories in Germany from the first half of the 20th century documented by what was the first generation of citizen photographers.
Amidst these silent memories, I found myself drawn to fragments within each photograph itself: objects, gestures, silhouettes and even abstract forms and shapes.
In many ways, elements within each photograph spoke more clearly to me than its entire composition. Thus began my interest in selecting photographs from the archive, reframing them and through a chemical process isolating the respective elements within each image. By eclipsing the remainder of the given image and through this process of elimination, it revealed a more granular narrative from the past.
Through this work, the past and the present merge into a cumulative experience of fragmented memories that, if shared with others, whether it be through story, song or image, somehow shed new light on parts that seem more whole than the original. These works puts me in conversation with the past, held in the present time.”
Struengmann completed a BFA in Photography and Design at Parsons School of Design in New York, USA. A full artist interview is available in UNSEEN Magazine 2016. Current exhibition: Festival Circulation(s), Paris FR (March-May 2018). Previous exhibitions include: IDN x Struengmann with A.I., London, UK (2017); "El nostalgico e il nuovo" Group Show with Galleria Ramo, Lugano, CH (2017); UNSEEN 2017 with A.I., Amsterdam, NL; Berlin Art Week 2016, GER; UNSEEN 2016 with A.I., Amsterdam, NL; PhotoLondon 2015 with A.I., London, UK; Kunstverien Munich– Jahresgaben Group Show, DE (2015); CameraWorks, Berlin, DE (2015).