C&K Gallery Berlin
There are many topics that oppress us: the exploitation of our resources without sufficient development of other alternatives; climate change and its ignorers, a systematic and resistant denial; the displacement and extinction of species; the mountains of garbage that we have thrown to the oceans or exported to other countries that is only the most visible sign of environmental pollution; the return of a bloc mentality and divisive strategies; the continuing displacement of peoples and the mass migrations; the wars, ethnic conflicts and poverty that result...
Quickly that can all become overwhelming: "In former times everything was better." But already in these "former times" humankind began to mould the world according to its needs, and was also formed by its environment – the fossils of skulls attest to the evolutionary development from "homme naturel" to "homo sapiens". Today we are in the Anthropocene era and have completely reshaped our globe – we have become a power that is able to remodel geology. This "we" is often hard to bear, and the construction of the "other" becomes a welcome projection surface. Thus we happily create recesses and subterfuges: in clubs or clans; with a specific, purported idiosyncratic Habitus; in search of the "authentic" – or in the exceptional staged scenario of a vacation. Postcards are couriers of these escapes and at the same time are mediums of calming and stability because the images follow certain standards (blue skies, representative views, recognizability) and the writable area only leaves room for condensed statements.
Roland Stratmann uses a pool of material for his tableaus found in private estates, museum-like collections, and the internet: postcards with their compact statements; the masses of available images; appropriated objects of nature through taxidermy; and for his sculptures, the outer appearance of discarded garments. The artistic method encompasses covering and uncovering, cutting out and superimposing, precise incisions, shifting, folding out, seaming together. His images and sculptures play with the "velum", the opaque veil of the multi-layered image, like the tradition of the many-layered disguises. And they offer a sensational "revelatio", an unveiling by means of the revealed images and dissected statements. This unveiling exposes how we mold the world according to our aspirations and judgments.
Out of this oppressive material Stratmann manages to open up a new thinking space poetically and with humor, thanks to the shifting nature of the works, offering the viewer the possibility for a new sense of orientation. It is asking nothing less than: allow yourself to be regarded, look back, and know thyself!