21er RAUM, 21er HAUS
WHAT YOU DESIRE
15.4. – 7.6.2015
Curator: Severin Düsner
Wanting, desiring, longing for something – it is this state that Rosa Rendl
addresses in her exhibition. From 15 April to 7 June 2015, the artist is
presenting her work at the 21er Raum in a show titled What You Desire. It
features ten large-scale photographs taken with her smartphone. They are
staged photographs that imitate, or rather emulate, the pictorial language
of social networks.
“These days we seem to be in a state of perpetual longing. We are
constantly faced with seductive worlds of images. Social media sites
especially are places that generate non-stop stimuli to which we also
contribute as users. In online forums we are continuously re-producing and
positioning ourselves as well as awakening longings – for not only do we
desire but we also want to be desired,” said curator Severin Dünser.
We have an almost intimate relationship with our smartphones, laptops,
and tablets. It is a given that we spend a significant amount of our time on
the internet and even take our computer to bed, which on account of its
algorithms, seems to know us better than our closest friends. We touch
these devices to use them, scroll through content with our fingers as if
stroking them. The boundaries between the physical and virtual world thus
seem to blur.
Rosa Rendl’s photographs reveal this dissolving of boundaries between
private and public, real and virtual presence, body and machine with great
attentiveness and sensitivity. The scenes and snapshots she shows us
convey the close and incidental: the detail of a body, a smartphone on a
bed, a glimpse through a person’s thighs, a still life of a silk flower, a selfie,
food on the bed, one’s shadow cast on the wall, and so on. Nothing seems
alien and yet everything is often so close-up that it appears almost
But this dissolving of boundaries is manifested at another level as well.
Sometimes printed on both sides, these photographs simultaneously
present a world above the glossy surfaces – details like cigarettes lying
around, blazing flames or a hand swiping across the screen are all
indications. In these works, both levels merge into a single image and
staged daily life becomes one with the equally staged reality on top. Here
there is an intermingling of what is increasingly merging today: digital and
analogue social life. This is also demonstrated by the pictorial format,
which echoes the format of an iPhone touchscreen.
In the light of the screen it is not unusual for us to lose sight of our rhythms
of day and night. A distance to our own body evolves as we increasingly
regard it as a tool and yet still yearn to be touched. Egocentricity and
isolation are held in balance with our longing for closeness. And longing
and desire are all that remain, both in Rendl’s mirror image of our reality
and in a world in which the interplay of truth and illusion is constantly
creating new realities.