In his photographic work, Peter Vahlefeld considers the immaculately smooth appearance of our society’s surface and increases their reality. Similar to the way in which the recognisability of the represented image remains imprecise, Vahlefeld’s photography undermines the classic boundaries of the genre to the extent of indistinguishability. Insofar as paint effects are reproduced using photographic means, he acts to counteract the expectations of the observer’s horizon. Since what appears painted is, technically speaking, photography and, vice versa, an apparent photograph has been in fact a painting. Here, he also does not make content a theme, but instead an instrument. The painting is reflected in the photographic medium. Programmatically art is, in this way, assigned the significance of an empty mirror reflecting the image of your own mistrust.

The video clips which are just as much formed by the sublimation strategies of art and its marketing, act to sabotage the documentary earnestness of photography and the strategic action of painting by means of a dysfunctional script. The senseless composition of a Goya puzzle from the Prado museum shop or endlessly flipping through pages of art magazines and auction house catalogues like a content-free sequence of advertising, help to formulate the social phenomenon of the present. In an essay published as early as 1993 and written by the recently deceased writer David Foster Wallace, attention is drawn to the fact that the stance of ironic refraction as a criticism of the current state has long since been incorporated by the market itself. Each image is both art and product. Even more: the art world itself forms part of the economic system whereby everyone wishes to be paid. Galleries, auction houses, art magazines, and everyone else who receives their income from advertising in the same way that state institutions are subsidized by the state (taxpayer´s money). There is no escape plan instead there might indeed be only one market and its economy of art production which can be subject of discussion or attack. The conveyance of existing, and often trivial things like museum shop merchandising or auction house advertisements, in another context, the appropriation of marketing strategies, the re-appropriation of already appropriated media-images and the expropriation of brand names and logos, are the tools employed to do this. What is left is a pretty good example of pretty good sales and the imperative to push the slick surfaces of a consumer culture to absurd extremes.

Eichenstrasse 4
12435 Berlin

Peter Vahlefeld, Autoren und VG-Bild

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