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For the past ten years\, Sabine Reitmaier has photographed the covers of Psychologie Heute\, a German special-interest magazine that addre sses mental health issues from burn-out to relationship problems. The cover s generally portray a single female model\, shot in colour against a monoch romatic background\, along with the magazine’s title and its signature grap hics and issue-specific topics. The magazine’s layout is seemingly balanced in its visual relationship between image and text: its clean design is sta rk and highly legible with images shot in medium close-up and generally cro pped\, wherein face and hand gestures become the focus\, the pictorial even t. Unlike style or gossip magazines\, the lure of the cover page invites a one-to-one identification\, not as an aspiration towards fame or luxury\, b ut by individualising affect\, portraying feelings and emotions as both emp irical and tractable\, signs and symptoms as both limpid and manageable.

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Upon closer inspection\, however\, Reit maier’s cover images convey something unexpected\, a disconnect through the ir mannered staging: the models’ expressions and poses are simplified and c ondensed to the point parody\, like a photo-roman or film still: over-deter mined\, they are silent yet visually communicative. The images suggest a fi ctional narrative moment in time\, the capture of an incident or happening with a past and a potential future\, a kind of genre or stock image but wit hout captions to identify the scene. In this exhibition the handpainted mon ochrome backgrounds and their associative colour ‘emotions’ (for example\, red for anger\, blue for sadness) only underline the lack of contextual inf ormation conferring all interest upon affect.

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To perform affect as a communicative skill signals another aspect of the Reitmaier’s work – the work of labour itself. Where does ‘the work’ of the exhibition happen and how does its enfolding make labour speak its f orms\, its processes\, its production of subjectivity? By exhibiting her co mmercial work as her art work and by picking apart those very images\, Reit maier seeks to disable such axioms as art/non-art\, commercial/fine art\, h igh/low and so on but nonetheless leaves traces of these binarisms because they in fact furnish what the elements of work\, or rather\, being a worker means today. In an era of neoliberal ‘realism’\, an anthropological unders tanding of the subject envisions the world through the marketplace where co mpetition is naturalized to the extent that we are all workers and entrepre neurs of ourselves – a totalizing view of economic social reality\, human n ature and rationality. This shift in ideology and its forms is foremost a s hift of the production of subjectivity and truth\, the all-encompassing eco nomic calculus behind every aspect of human activity.

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Reitmaier’s exhibition not only articulates a mode of prod uction\, of how labour functions\, where affect\, communication and social knowledge – allegorised in the magazine covers and in their decontextualisa tion – are tools of survival\, but also a mode of subjection\, the way ‘eco nomic being’ is naturalised in the role of the artist/worker herself.

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Text: David Bussel

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The gallery will be closed from
24.12.2013 – 0 8.01.2013

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DTEND:20130202 DTSTAMP:20141222T212836 DTSTART:20121130 GEO:52.5002826;13.3635467 LOCATION:Galerie Cinzia Friedlaender\,Potsdamer Straße 105 \nBerlin\, 10785 SEQUENCE:0 SUMMARY:Not comme les autres\, Sabine Reitmaier UID:248142 END:VEVENT BEGIN:VEVENT DTEND:20121130T213000 DTSTAMP:20141222T212836 DTSTART:20121130T190000 GEO:52.5002826;13.3635467 LOCATION:Galerie Cinzia Friedlaender\,Potsdamer Straße 105 \nBerlin\, 10785 SEQUENCE:0 SUMMARY:Not comme les autres\, Sabine Reitmaier UID:248143 END:VEVENT END:VCALENDAR