»recherche du temps perdu«

by Moriz Stangl

Displayed on the surface of a shiny pink satin veil are images that evoke documentary depictions of war as well as everyday-poetry of contemplations of the sky. Reverse glass prints in black and white stage screenshots in simple elegance and visual language of classical beauty, before closer inspection reveals spots on the faces. 


Julia Schäfer’s works formulate a “recherche du temps perdu”, exploiting the double meaning of the word research as sighting and search. While various media – videos, books and the internet – are sighted for recurring motifs, this research work does not simply stop at a cultural-sociological synopsis of the collective pictorial memory. Rather, the search for a memory runs through the repetitions and variations; an attempt to reconstruct this one moment in the always foreign signs that language and the media imagery make available to us. These are moments of alienation. The destroyed biographies in war, the fading out of subjectivity in porn.


In repetition, Julia Schäfer produces a memory that is at once intimate and general, singular and social – she does this in an act of appropriation, by coloring the black and white of the cloud images by hand, or by depriving the pornographic images of their striking appearance and usability, and restoring to them that quiet ambivalence in which a subject can reflect and recognize itself in his social fabric. Instead of the reconstruction of an uncatchable event, it offers a transformation in the delicate fascination of the material and the re-creation of a collective memory in the games of memory and imagination.