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Katharina Sieverding, Encode II

Andreas Grimm New York
530 West 25th Street, 2nd floor, 212-352-2388
September 17 - October 21, 2005
Reception: Friday, September 16, 7 - 9 PM
Web Site

Most well known in the United States for her extensive, serial, close-up self portraits, Sieverding has maintained since 1975 a parallel body of large-format work that focuses more directly on global political situations, the motivation and representation of power, and the impact of these politics on human experience.

Encode II will include two large photographic works that cover most of the gallery’s main walls. These works continue the exhaustive investigation of global social and political structures that Katharina Sieverding, along with her partner Klaus Mettig, has been occupied with for over thirty years.

Visual Studies VIII began with a 1953 image of the testing of the most powerful nuclear weapon in the US arsenal. Layered on top of this is a press image published on September 9, 2003 of British soldiers on patrol in Iraq near a herd of camels by the Tigris River. Media documentation of international conflicts rarely reflect the complex international and historical relationships involved. By conflating these anachronous images Sieverding draws attention to the long-term motives and ramifications of wars, as well as their inherent historical absurdities.

Visual Studies IX is composed of three layers of processed imagery. The first is of Mountainside bunker-headquarters of the NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command), over this is a recent image of very large, traditional reconnaissance boat patrolling the waters around Iraq, and the third layer is composed of a ghostly night-vision photograph of Taliban prisoners of war. The image has been processed and colorized to such an alarming degree that only the metal deck of a boat, half of someone’s face and nearby water are recognizable. The result is simultaneously unclear and ineffably specific much like the opposing military strategies of large political powers and the hidden terrorist cells.

A student of Joseph Beuys at the Staatliche Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in the late sixties and early seventies, Sieverding has always been an artist whose work is positioned at the confluence of the individual and the political. Both Sieverding and Mettig work in what they call a D/A (or digital/analogue) mode in which images are subjected to a variety of processes of transformation, abstraction, and refinement. These processes range from the polarization, colorization and overlay to the alchemical process of capillary dynamolysis.
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