Sunday, March 2, 2008

Anna and Bernhard Blume

We came across another husband and wife team that work together, here are two sequences from their Constructive Chaos Series:

© Anna and Bernhard Blume

"Wife and husband team Anna and Bernhard Blume have been creating artworks collaboratively since the 1970s. Often using themselves as the protagonists, the Blumes have produced numerous suites of staged photographs that create ambiguous narratives.

In Anna and Bernhard Blume’s world, order prevails. She takes her place, complete with decorative dress, in the kitchen, surrounded by plates, cups, and jugs. He, wearing a fine plaid jacket, concerns himself with technical devices. Yet, this selfsame world is also one of complete chaos. The compulsion to play roles cause towers of cups to sway, people to fly around, their faces distorted, and furniture constructions to collapse.

The Blumes focus on the metaphors attached to objects, for the latter are laden down with convention. They explore everyday objects as a symptom of the times – of the age when they were youngsters and of the age in which we all now live. Steeped in the tradition of performance art, this process of questioning also entails relishing a situation in which all is set in flux or even “smashed up”, as Bernhard Blume puts it. This is not to suggest their work is destructive: „Our wish was and is always just to relativize different levels of order.” And the Blumes present this in their very own ironic and sarcastic way.

Anna and Bernhard Blume always devise their picture sequences jointly and always do all the work themselves: from designing the sets and costumes, via taking the shots of each other, through to developing the negatives and producing enlargements. During each of these steps, the artwork is continuously refined, polished, and painted. “We paint with our camera,“ Anna Blume avers, „and this painterly work continues in the lab, too.“ However, their black-and-white photo series do not involve digital manipulation or montage by way of post production. Instead, they really do involve a flying, crashing, and swirling world. In order to take what are in fact quite dangerous photographs, the artists make use of securing ropes, safety nets, mattresses, etc."

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