Ápnoia - image2

Detail Ápnoia, 2013

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View through the Braille punching of the curtain.

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Detail Spots, 2012

Ápnoia 2013

galerie weisser elefant, Berlin

Ápnoia (Greek non-breathing) means a cessation of breathing, which can also be caused by a traumatic blockage: a brief standstill, a faltering, a premonition of death, a harbinger of finitude. Threat and death are omnipresent, occupying all media. War, disaster, destruction, shocking outbursts of aggression and attacks structure the flow of information. Should we refrain or turn to these impositions? For his multimedia exhibition installation covering the seven rooms of the gallery, Roland Stratmann chooses the path of attentive examination. 

Stratmann researched the background of politically and socially motivated bloody crimes and riots on the internet, the medium that stores all information, be it banal or explosive, on an equal footing. He deals with sniper attacks, assassination attempts, dictatorial attacks on one’s own population, armed conflicts, all these barbaric acts and the resulting streams of migrants. A fundamental approach of Stratmann consists in the coupling of precise observation and imaginative (re)forming. He combines the reconstructed real disaster with fictionalizing adaptation. The investigations lead to transformations: the cruel fact becomes a beguiling line, the scandalous images appear fragmented and discreetly visible. 

What catches our gaze, where do we become voyeurs or witnesses? From two stamps from Liberia, a duplicate child soldier targets us. The photographers shoot back from the opposite wall. In between, the viewer is exposed to this complicit action. How far does the impact of these images reach? In looking and looking back, it becomes clear that focusing is sometimes difficult and that we only face the sight of disaster with blinders. However, temporary isolation does not have to mean general blunting. The gaze wanders. Points of light in Braille shoot through a curtain that shields the gallery from the outside world. Art has always demanded the empathetic compassion of its viewers. In everyday life, our empathy is constantly trusted for much lesser reasons. On the whole, on the other hand, indifference seems to be the preferred attitude, especially on the part of politicians. The scandalous images then become background flickering. In exposing and transforming these indications floating in the stream of images, there is not only an invitation to look but also a critical examination of the media.