Anita Witek’s practice centres around the fundamental tension between reality and representation, physical object and its depiction, original and reproduction and the image context. Her artwork is concerned with creating new scenarios, using the remnants of paper that are left after she has cut out and fragmented the subjects from images found in printed media. Photomontage is central to Witek’s practice; her extensive archive of printed matter, consisting of contemporary and historical magazines, books and posters, provide the material for her working process. By dissecting, detaching and cutting these materials Witek removes the central motifs, deconstructing and destabilising the content. The cut out remnants of the images are then loosely layered to form new abstract configurations that the artist subsequently ‘fixes’ with a photographic lens.
Recently Witek has started to produce large site-specific installations, allowing the viewer to experience her photographs in three-dimensional form. By transposing her photomontages into three-dimensional space, using billboard paper, Witek generates new, physically tangible, spatial pictures that can literally be entered by the viewer.
The result is simulated spaces, installations and images of space that restage the interaction between human beings and objects in the field of photography. One might say that this gives rise to what Philosopher Jean Baudrillard termed simulacra, images between reality and fiction.
Witek’s presentation at Photo London refers to her 2016 installation at the Kunst Haus, Vienna, About Life. For this installation, Witek found her source material in the archival posters used by the Kunst Haus to advertise their previous exhibitions of major photographers such as Man Ray, Robert Mapplethorpe and Albert Watson. After deconstructing the posters by cutting out the central subjects, Witek re-printed the remnants on large billboard paper and re-configured them into an immersive, abstract sculptural installation. Together with some parts of the installation, we are presenting a selection of the About Life photographic series which was based on the same fragments from the Kunst Haus’s poster archive.
We are also presenting Witek’s newest body of work, Reset, which is an on-going series in which the artist is exploring her personal artistic vocabulary, using the stock of accumulated cut outs and fragments from her own archive.
Providing context for About Life and Reset, and demonstrating the continuity of Witek’s concept throughout her body of work, are older artworks from the series Es its so wie est Scheint, (2015), Best of.. (2012) and Ordinary Subjects Larger Then Life (2011).