Clages Gallery | Anne Pöhlmann – screens – Press release
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Anne Pöhlmann – screens – Press release

September 04 till  October 17, 2015

Anne Pöhlmann’s most recent work consists of photographs of basic geometric forms printed on fabric. In this series of large format works, sheets of fabric have been printed with repeating imagery and are presented against primed white canvases. Here, however, the canvas is neither an image carrier nor do its dimensions match those of the printed fabric. On one hand it is the sheets fabric which have been been printed with the motifs whereas the canvas remains untouched. On the other, the printed sheets of fabric never cover the entire surface of the canvas, rather they’re draped in such a way that the long side and/or the bottom edge of the canvas remain exposed. Simply attached to the top bar of the canvas, the fabric hangs at a slight distance from the canvas and falls freely along its surface, even partially extending beyond the canvas’ lower edge. The pre-established limits of the canvas are repeatedly and consistently ignored. With this minor shift, Pöhlmann subtly subverts the presets of her medium by simultaneously maintaining them. Unlike Frank Stella’s Shaped Canvas paintings, Pöhlmann does not change the traditional shape of the canvas. Nonetheless the works have acquired a definite sculptural character. Robbed of its traditional function as an image carrier, the objecthood of the canvas comes to the fore. The conversion of paintings paradigmatic medium and printed polyester fabric finally results in works which unify diverse aspects of painting, sculpture and photography.

The printed motifs developed from photographs of industrially fabricated plastic forms which Pöhlmann then digitally edited and recombined. In an age when one is perpetually surrounded by images and there seems to be endless supply of reproductions of every conceivable object and place, Pöhlmann has decided to use basic forms, such as cubes, cylinders and hexagons, to develop her reflections on the conditions of photography. Over the course of a long working process, Pöhlmann digitally determines the size, colour and arrangement of the elements and prints them on flag fabric. The material, which is often used for printing flags and advertising banners, is preferred for outdoor usages on account of its particular structure. The fabric’s fine holes, which were originally intended to reduce air pressure on banners and flags as well as to ensure quick drying times after heavy rain showers, also produce a certain transparency. Pöhlmann makes particular use of just this effect in a further series of works.

The three smaller works in the exhibition each consist of two differently coloured sheets of flag fabric, one lying slightly displaced on the other. A different geometric form has been printed on the centre of each piece and the finely woven structure of the fabric allows the images to be visually superimposed. A circle, for example, begins to seem like a window opening onto the form behind it. The simultaneous use of different layers recalls the image editing software Photoshop. Like the canvases, the software also imposes pre-established parameters of action that are difficult to circumvent. Pöhlmann transposes this moment of becoming intelligible from the space of digital editing into an analog, real one. The fabric’s special structure also intensifies two effects common to digital image editing: the rasterisation inherent to the image and the Moiré effect. In Pöhlmann’s work, these effects aren’t treated as restrictions or flaws but rather as aesthetic concepts.

JK