Photographic work by Christine Elsinger(1999 / 2000)
C-Prints, Lithfilm, foil
The starting point of the photographic work “SHADOW FACES” are faces/- fragments from different areas of media, absorbed and captured so to speak, in passage, in transient consideration. The „Persons“ remain unrecognized and nameless. “SHADOW FACES” are associative faces, which brought in a new context, appear transformed yet nevertheless familiar to the viewer; be it through the focus of a recurring glance or through a vague memory of something formerly familiar. They illuminate the frequent change of visual charms, as well as moments of the disappearance and re-emergence of indefinite, but familiar impressions.
In the photographic work Shadow Faces , I deal, as in previously released series, with the continuation of the so-called „X.Ü. “Bild“ – idea.
X = arbitrary subject Ü = condensation, cover, layering
The purpose of superimposing several layers of photos is a structural condensation of the photographic symbols, causing the intensity of the picture to increase. The transparent photographic surface, created with the X.Ü. – Technology of a multi-layered photo composition, releases the concentration on what’s behind, hidden; creating new space for imagination, variation and surprise.
For a number of years I have been working on themes of love and intimacy. as a gay man, I am always aware of how the codes of behavior change depending on the situation in which I find myself, bringing together the issue of public and private behaviors very much to the fore. This body of paintings examines the nature of public and private domains by addressing issues of intimacy, desire and companionship. Furthermore, this work questions conventional reading of painting, photography, and the way images from mass media are consumed by blurring the lines that divide them.
My work has evolved out of an attempt to understand the notion of taste, good, bad and acceptable. This work implicates taste on many levels and it is the play among these different layers that I am drawing on. For example, the links between the freedom of a splatter of paint and the messiness of day-to-day living are never taken into account in the pristine and beautifully designed interiors of magazines like Martha Steward Living (Architectural Digest). What is the line dividing sloppiness from a well-intended brush stroke? Expressiveness of paint strokes or ideas, have their boundaries in a world that is being presented to the general public.
I am interested in the way Living and other lifestyle publications expose private living spaces. These magazines “tastefully” depict domestic scenes that instantly become part of the public domain. Their interiors tease us with visions of success, comfort and pleasure. They tempt us with ideal sanctuaries where private fantasies might be explored and fulfilled. Correspondingly, the figures in my work make a direct link to the way the public perceives the nude (male) body, representations of sex and how these homes are exposed for general consumption. The nude males that I insert into these idealized homes are intentionally appropriated from gay porn. These magazines are also made to tease. Like the transition from private space into the public spectacle, sex acts become pornography when made public. The inclusion of these figures also raises the specter of fantasy and illusion, putting a further twist on these domestic scenes by furnishing them with a gay male perspective.
Through my redesigning of domestic interiors, I am directing attention to and broadening the relationship between voyeurism and consumption. I am painting figures into these empty domestic scenes thus inviting viewers into the public rendering of private fantasies and taking them beyond the pristine pages of the magazine.