IN PLAIN AIR
April 27 – June 13, 2018
Sebastian Riemer entitled his exhibition „In Plain Air“ as an invitation and a declaration of his artistic mindset. With a clear reference to impressionist painting, he describes a mentality which is dedicated to the detachment of fixed ideas, serendipity, and absolute quality of a walk outdoors. It is an examination of the medium’s origins, which is why Sebastian Riemer devotes himself to the heterogeneous quality of photographic production with sometimes large leaps in time.
In his current exhibition, the artist displays works from three series and negotiates the position of photographic reproduction, fetishism and the media history of individual photographs. In his inquisitive approach to photography and its historical development he mostly works with sources from a professional background, to which, according to Riemer, „something has happened“. He is interested in the individual stories of photographs. However, he focuses less on the content and more on the historical handling of the respective prints and their inherent relations with their process. Riemer’s approach to his sources is an analytical one. He examines the claims of the verifiability of technical images and thus creates an experience of changing qualities such as fact and fiction or document and narration. His work contains a field of tension between the technical reference and high aesthetic standards.
The sources for Riemer‘s „Achrome Stills“ were literally illuminated during photocopy process. They originally served as film stills of the dream factory Hollywood. These pictures, shot under highly artificial conditions, simulate a movie reality created for advertising and seducing to go to the cinema. After decades of the slides being forgotten, Sebastian Riemer dedicates himself to their visual qualities and their historical, technical and lyrical aspects. He examines the immersive experience of color that emerges from momentary shots of the decomposition of a slide. The abstract grid of the single fungal spores and their altered color interpretations spread over the entire surface, while the hyper-real image of the Hollywood dream world fades with its utopian promises.
In his instant photographs, the artist examines the topos of reproducibility and the inherent time. The enigmatic-looking works carry a field of tension - the assertion of photographic authenticity is completely being disturbed, Sebastian Riemer nevertheless uses daguerreotypes as models for reproductions via instant photography. With an ironic quote to this stylized photographs, he alienates them from their natural habitat by using them as reproductive mediums instead of emphasizing the singular, personal, and individual. In Riemer‘s transfer of the images, they go through different fashionable processes from different times and raises the question of the contemporary materialization of photography.
The state of photography and the individual histories of single prints are essential topics for Sebastian Riemer. From press archives of the 1920s to 1960s, he buys prints and examines them in media-archaeological aspects. The focus of this artistic archeology is the trace of manipulation, in which the needs of the press industry are manifested. Sebastian Riemer contrasts their changes and expansions with a large-scale and precise reproduction - the subtle difference to the supposed original exists in the scaling shift and de-colorization. His works from the series „Press Paintings“ are thus black-and-white photos of black-and-white photos. For him, this implies the idea, that all reality cannot be black and white and that every black-and-white photograph is only an approximation of this dualistic illusion when it is being created.
The longer and closer one looks at Riemer‘s textual and technically precise observations, the more the feeling arises, that all attempts at reassurance must ultimately be subordinated to appearance, even if it is the beautiful one.
Sebastian Riemer was a student of Tomas Ruff and Christopher Williams at the art academy in Düsseldorf. He received many awards such as the Young Artist Award from the State of North- Rhine-Westphalia or the Setareh Future Master’s Art Award. His works are featured in numerous exhibitions as “Deutschland8“ in Peking, CN (2017), „Ecker, Riemer, Ruff“ at Folkwang Museum in Essen, DE (2017), „Reference“ at Rose Gallery in Santa Monica, USA (2017), „Luther und die Avantgarde“ at Altes Gefängnis in Wittenberg, DE (2017), „Mädchen & Quadrate“ at Goethe Institut in Tel Aviv, IL (Solo, 2017), „Noise“ at Setareh Gallery in Düsseldorf, DE (Solo 2016) or „Das Originale unserer Zeit“ at Galerie DIX9 in Paris, FR (Solo 2015) and his works are part of the collections such as the Kunstmuseum Bonn, the Kunstpalast Museum, and the Philara Collection in Düsseldorf.