ANNETTE KELM at MOCAD

Berlin-based artist Annette Kelm's photographic works often feature a single, vaguely familiar object, which she renders using a direct and realistic style that oscillates between genres of photography--such as documentary and advertising--to unfold that object's social, economic, and cultural context. As she makes series revolving around these objects, consequently pressing the relationship between photography and sculpture--her work moves between the creation of an image and the recording of a staged object or objects--Kelm shares much with contemporaries such as Josephine Pryde and Wolfgang Tillmans. But perhaps her clearest influence is Christopher Williams, who also puts his camera at the service of finding historical marks and contexts embedded within form. Yet whereas Williams typically provides lengthy captions that help viewers decipher and unpack his images, Kelm offers few clues, making that deconstruction more part of her artistic process.

The display at the Museum of Contemporary Art brings together a series of works from throughout the artists' career that outline the above-mentioned concerns. In particular the work Art Car (2007) offers a link to Detroit, a photographic diptych depicting an automobile that has been deconstructed. In fact, the convertible's body is stripped down in every sense: The door handles, mirrors, and bumpers have been removed from the car (made in the 1980s by Volkswagen) and stuck in its backseat. Kelm's photographs are similarly unfinished in sensibility, since the car is shot in ordinary daylight against a plain white backdrop it seems to present the bare bones beneath a supple commercial image, depicting the car in a manner that is more in keeping with mug shots than with the glossy, seductive representations of automobiles to which we are accustomed to.

Curated by Susanne Feld Hilberry Senior Curator at Large Jens Hoffmann 

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