The Archive of Gestures, 2002
Site: Gallery Gabriele Rivet, Cologne 2002

Public accessible images are the point of departure for many of my art works. Those I have found in newspapers, magazines and books, films, videos, TV and the worldwide web. During the last 20 years it has become a collection, which I am currently transforming into several very subjective digital archives. One of these is the archive of gestures.

The characters of this archive are mostly people of public interest (politics, economy, sport, and media...). All images had been manipulated in the same way. Hereby I have applied one strategy on which my earlier projections in the public space had been based: The isolation of the characters from their original context and their transfer into a new surrounding. But in this specific case the intervention goes beyond in order to emphasize what is comparable in these photographs which had been made at different times and by different authors: The same scale, and the head and the two hands of the depicted person considerably characterize all images. Moreover they appear all in black and white and had been blurred to a degree that one is just able to recognize the portrayed human. Consequently the eye is focused on the crucial, which are the gesture, the features of the face and the perspective of the photographers.

With these procedures a format of my archive of gestures is defined, which I consider as a lifetime project. This implies a biographical and a historical aspect: This archive represents exemplarily the whole repertoire of gestures, which I will consciously perceive during my life. Of course I will continue to collect images und put them in a order corresponding to my interest. Here my main interest is focused on, if and how gestures are submitted to changes and how their representation in media is going to change.

For the viewer of this archive it might be at the beginning more attractive to recognize the depicted persons. But sooner or later he/she might think about human communication in general but also in which contexts he/ she has seen those gestures, where they had been crucial and where the had made significant changes in the relation of nations, like when Willi Brandt spontaneously went down on his knees in Warsaw in 1970..