IMAGE COURTESY
2017, inkjet printing on voile, 260 x 360 cm
In collaboration with Maria Anwander
<...> A watermark is the symbol by which paper mills identify themselves. An imprint that can only be seen when held up to the light. In the digital age, these watermarks are digitally incorporated into photographs by commercial stock photo agencies; the images are branded, stamped, shunted from the freedom of open use, and marked as a product. Digital watermarks are transparent, the light we hold them up to are the screens of our technological devices; the translucent is merely simulated, as a varnish, a window, a layer. Maria Anwander and Ruben Aubrecht systematically explore this multilayeredness: An exhibition booth is shrouded in transparent gauze, imprinted with the copyright branding of their own imaginary stock photo agency. Appropriating agencies such as Shutterstock, Gettyimage, Adobe, etc. – the digital photo archives of our time, offering us images repackaged as merchandise online – they frame their exhibition booth and its image content; an analog embossed display by means of a digital sign system. Everything that goes into this net becomes its own proprietary framing: the observers, the fair visitors taking photos, the artwork installed and hanging behind it (which, in turn, present abstracted stock photos created by searching for "Beautiful Picture in Art Gallery" then blurring the results beyond recognition), in fact, the two artists sign and digitally brand the entire site-specific reality. <...>

Excerpt from a text by Philipp Preuss

installation view at viennacontemporary 2017



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