Chargesheimer Scholarship

Jürgen Klauke, 2006

Tamara Lorenz is a photo artist who has over time dealt adeptly with incorporating other media. Indeed, her works open themselves up in the form of photos, yet one can hardly speak of the plate as in the sense of classic photography. She often opens, closes orconvolutes the pictorial plane through sculptural intervention in front of the camera.

In such a way for example, an installation with a wall full of colorful, differently shaped and sized plastic bags becomes convictable through the abstract picturesque qualities of the photographic medium. Clearly composed clumps of color, some blazingly full, others sleepily drooping as though they were slowly deflating, some laminar and pale, some loud and plastic. A score of life. The counterpart to this picture swallows the room almost entirely, opening up into the unbounded. Black, airfilled trashbags, whose real dimension is barely recognizable, allow their form to be recognized only through a few minimal, sharply drawn light contours.
 Already in her work The Half of Life Itself she was creating pseudo casual composition with plastic bags, wooden laths, chairs, a table, a fan, cables and other calm protagonists of everyday life, setting them into light as if they were staging a secret theatre behind closed doors – a tragic comedy of objecthood as a persiflage of personhood.

The themes of Lorenz’s pictures are based upon experienced affections of social cooperation and human lonliness and for this reason appear to be familiar. For example the stored, airfilled plastic bags in a precisely arranged in a shelf. The fastidious organization and the hollowness of the replacement stock seem to reveal the need for safety as laughable. Or the gray bags, which stand across from one another in two accurate rows like image and effigy, original and emulation – the copy of the copy of the copy. The absent bags hold steady and stubborn in their conformist posture.

In her newest group of work Pragmatic Principles Tamara Lorenz places diverse older and newer wooden laths together in idiosyncratic constructions. They lay unnailed and unscrewed beside each other until the artist transforms them into another playful and unpretentious photo. Under the Phenotype for example there are open and closed compositions, supple and aggressive, complex and reduced forms, congenial and incongenial characters – mindful portraits, which somehow involuntarily remind one of situations or persons. Through the particularly chosen camera angle emerge frequent overlappings of perspective, spatial dislocation, shadow plays and other optical irritation, in which fotographed sculptures become reduced drawings within a space.
 If one sees Tamara Lorenz’s work as small illustrations, one could think that the photos were merely documentation of an installation. Lorenz reaches a further, rather casual irritation of meaning through this manouvre, in which the picture as such simply questions the meaning behind the mode. Often enough, not only mass-produced articles but also artistic works which appear in photographic form seem more impressive in a catalog as in real life. To opt for the photograph as the final form for a work is a decision she has made in order to play with the means of the medium, to spit out its optical idiosyncracies when the room offers itself as a flat surface. The prescribed perspective refuses the entirety of the experience and concentrates on the observer’s presentiment. Beyond the distance of the photo to the constructed image there arises a moment of transcendence and longing. There is no rustling of a bag dispersed through momentary passing, no lath constructions that fall aloud within themselves. The materials, known from the house and the yard, staged in absurdity, lose their visual examination of inconsolable banality through this distance and develop an independent consciousness, let loose of their roll of functionality. They become abstracter through photography and more independent in their Mise en Scène.

In Lorenz’s video work the materials hold back the details of their characteristics: how they move, which sounds arise, when Lorenz presses the air out of them or wildly shakes them. As in her photo work, the picture frame has a sound composition, the performing act stays in focus. The video camera becomes more of a documentary tool – there are no edits or camera movements. In the video work Operator, colorful trash bags become character sculptures. Throughout the 19 minute piece, the artist hugs and squishes them until they whiff; they swell, wriggle, and become paler or more reflective through the process, a last highlight before they explode or finally whilstle their last bit of air. None of them can escape their fate: either with a loud fart or with a long piteous fizzle. In the work drag and drop Tamara Lorenz appears also as culprit. This time one sees only a bodyless arm, which moves a white, fragile air-filled bag in front of a white wall up and down in a mechanical impression. Delicately, the bag begins to teeter; increasingly its fate gives over to an uncontrolled, almost aggressive shaking agitation. This bag does not burst. It comes lightly back at ease so that the arousal might begin again. After the ecstasy is the beginning of ecstasy.

Tamara Lorenz engages with serious thopics in an immensly light manner, without exhortion, making fun or becoming cynical. Her pictures are inventories of daily observation in which she adeptly and gaily finds the right mixture of drama and comedy, which make the core of life.