RACE TO THE SOUTH POLE – What is it actually that makes the dramatic and tragic struggle for the South Pole so moving after more than 100 years? Is it the longing for lost ideals that correspond to a general agreement and not only result in screwed,
isolate individualistic self-realization mania? Probably also. It goes without saying that it is Scott’s enormous diary psychograms who wrote until death by cold took the pen out of his hand and gave him and his comrades the last rest. Of course, it is the haunting shots of the early photography pioneer Herbert Ponting, who knew how to ensure that the events in his photographs could be re-experienced and intensified that have lost none of their urgency even after a century.
Amundsen’s legacy speaks much less intensely and makes the unbelievable performance of his work less tangible. The written reflection lacks immediacy, the photographic legacy lacks abundance and, above all, professional quality and systematics. The enormity of his achievement is much less sensual than the Scotts, who, as a representative of a cultural nation that believes in technical progress, of course took a photographer of the highest rank, but also the unusable snowmobiles, for which the time was not ripe, and which too contributed to its doom. Amundsen, on the other hand, lacked the photographer, the chronicler, and what paved the way for him and his success, the unconditional belief in technical progress.
Relying on what the Eskimos had learned, on the strategies they had developed over thousands of years to wrest an existence from a completely hostile environment, ensured him success and survival.
For me, the expedition on the Polarstern was also an expedition into the history of polar research, into the history of the unconditional nature of human will. Equipped with my own experience of being at the mercy of an icy, hostile nature through my stays in Greenland, of the dog sled as a place to sleep, of surviving in the cold, I have not only a theoretical, but also a sensual conception and concept of what I fought for and suffered back then may have been. The result was a series of medium and large format pictures on canvas, combinations of printing techniques on Japanese paper in the context of acrylic paint,
graphic asphalt, Japanese ink and oil paints laminated on canvas. The motifs are digitally scaled-down images of historical documents and the photographic legacy of these historical expeditions, as well as timeless landscape structures of my own photographs extracted in the same way.
The playful design and the combination with a free painterly gesture is subject to the attempt to combine opposites: painterly gestures with graphic precision, abstraction with objectivity, etc.
The merging of the most varied of content and visual vocabulary in new, unfamiliar contexts in the sense of Max Ernst creates space for associations, for exploratory walks of the individual imagination without given instructions for interpretation, creates space to discover unexpected things in the apparently familiar, creates space for unfamiliar relationships between image elements, image spaces and perspectives. In an elaborate, less straightforward process of designing, destroying what has been designed and renewed, constructive design, a layered image is created, partially overlaid with new levels, which begins to develop its own cracked topography, to tell its own stories by telling a story .
It is the look into a kaleidoscope of partly morbid, yellowed set pieces, the look into an foreseeable past.