Black beauty

Susanne M. Winterling, Artist

Shadows and forms seem to reach out of the frame and pass right through the installation space. A hand approaches or withdraws from a chest blemished by marks. The fragility of this skin that has just been touched or is about to be touched contrasts with the image itself, which manages to convey the opposite of fragility. The black and white photograph comes from another time and yet is so necessary in our time.The photo was shown in the exhibition Black Beauty, which included an installation in which tons of black coal slag filled the entire gallery floor, and the site-specific work Black Magic, made from vibrating black astroturf cladding the walls. The glimmering sand-like coal seemed to point to the photograph, which was placed next to the viewer’s path of the architecture. The resulting dynamic was both of lightness and heaviness, as the exhausting playfulness and desolation of the sand found a correlation in the awkward intimacy of the photograph.This ambivalence is perhaps why this photo in particular has remained with me – its violent affirmation of a skin too thin. Like a spark, the image illuminates a certain and defined materialism within the virtual flow of information and image technology. Without concrete stability, it nevertheless affirms a dynamic and thus a reality, but one that will always remain vague, even though so visceral.