Alex Grein, Anna Vogel: Alex Grein ∩ Anna Vogel
Usually photographers must decide whether they search for the right image or make the image themselves. It is a decision of capturing a found situation or constructing, or arranging, a motif. Alex Grein and Anna Vogel have liberated themselves from these categories and do not commit to either single variant. They combine, alter and edit their own material and that of others thus creating artworks that cannot be subsumed purely under the term photography. It is fitting that both are and were master students of Prof. Andreas Gursky in his class for Fine Arts. The freedom provided to the students there reaches far into the works of both artists in terms of their technical realization and leads to the development of installations, videos and sculptures besides photographs, drawings or collages. Nevertheless these works always remain connected to photography, the reproduction of the real. Still enabling each idea to be carried out with the appropriate means and tools needed.
Fittingly the artists have titled the exhibition with the mathematical symbol ∩ (intersection) of Alex Grein and Anna Vogel. Both artists engage strongly with the limits of photography and are currently positioned opposite to this border. This development in Anna Vogel’s works leads to a series of vibrating, abstract drawings on printed photographic paper. They are alluring but simultaneously irritate the spectator and keep he or she aloof. Alex Grein presents a group of works, in which she filters perceived images and experienced situations and interprets these subjectively. By replicating she takes the conceptions and truths about nature, technology and text to a test and uncovers hidden structures and thinking patterns to herself and the spectator.
Both artists have the interplay with the senses in common. They doubt this perception und the fluid transition between reality and illusion. The exhibition is not only about the overlapping of both artists work. It is about the overlapping of realities and the representation of reality. Anna Vogel obscures the vision of the spectator with apparently dissolving sometimes even appearing forms that seem familiar and alien at the same time. One does not want to trust the beauty and clear composition completely. Alex Grein on the other part leaves the spectator thinking him or herself safe and the irritation follows only with a closer look at the work itself. Two identical fern leaves, for example, are not original and copy, but two duplicates of a leaf that clearly does not longer exist. Further a computer in the exhibition space leaves it open, like a human, if it is laughing with the visitor or about him or her.
Although the working process of both artists seems to be contrary, Vogel attempting her works, that grow slowly, intuitively and Grein planning the process and outcome precisely, there are parallels like the evident use of computer technology and the combination of digital and analogue (the real), and of nature and technology, of perfectly produced and obviously hand-crafted material. The manual interventions especially evoke thoughts on existence, time and memory. This is emphasized by human inaccuracy. In a way these are classical subjects that Alex Grein and Anna Vogel shed new light upon but on a foundation of current discourse.
The fact that a world exists autonomous to the human remains constantly noticeable.
Anna Vogel, born in 1981, was student of Thomas Ruff, Christopher Williams and most recently master student of Andreas Gursky. She had a number of solo exhibitions, among others at Kunstverein Recklinghausen, Sprüth Magers Gallery in Berlin or KIT- Kunst im Tunnel in Düsseldorf. She participated in exhibitions at Marta Herford, Kunstsammlung NRW and Lanzarote Biannual. In 2012 Anna Vogel received an award from the city of Düsseldorf and was nominated in 2014 for the Karl-Schmitt-Rottluff Prize.
Alex Grein was born in 1983 in Cologne and is student of Andreas Gursky at the Academy of Fine Art Düsseldorf. Her works were presented at Kunstverein Duisburg, at KIT- Kunst im Tunnel in Düsseldorf and International Museum of Modern Art Lanzarote. She participated in the exhibition “State of The Art Photography” at the NRW Forum in Düsseldorf and is winner of the project award Best Group (2015) and the 4th International Marianne Brandt Competition (2010).