Roberts, C.: "Ugly Casting", in: hARTware projekte e.V. (Hg.), Short Cuts: Anschlüsse an den Körper, Dortmund 1997, S. 32-33


In the hands of Gabriele Leidloff, the corpses whose faces have lent their posthumous images, are never laid to rest. For some time Leidloff has used death-masks --the imago of the deceased-- as a basis for her reproductive works. Ugly Casting is a recent work which consists of a suite of photographs of various death-masks and a single video monitor showing the photographs in sequence. These images are the facial imprint of so-called `criminals` executed during modern Europe`s darkest moment. Yet Ugly Casting is neither a message of condemnation nor a solemn memorial. Rather, for Leidloff these death-masks are the stuff of weighty images to which she lends further resonance through her linear installation of them. Conceived as a montaged sequence, they are read from left to right and can be viewed as a giant strip of film where each frame is linked to the next --not unlike the experimental/pioneering photography of Marey or Muybridge. The images are animated as the viewer passes before them; they are seen to engage one another as one dead face turns its extinguished gaze toward the other. The sequence of photographs, which extends across space, is resumed as an extension in time in Ugly Casting`s final image. This appears on a video monitor which approximates the format of the preceeding photograph. On the screen is an endless loop presenting each of the eleven death-masks. Leidloff uses the kinetic medium of video to represent static images, while the inherently static photographs are set into motion by the viewer.

Catsou Roberts
New York 1997



Gabriele Leidloff's Ugly Casting Sequence concentrates on the ambivalent attitude as a central theme which has continued to influence the way we see - consciously or subconsciously. Her images stem from a time when, to quote from Michel Foucault's epilogue to "Geburt der Klinik", a completely new "correlation between the visible and the testifiable " was established. The new positivism of science trained the perception of dead bodies to cure and heal the living.

Frankfurter Rundschau, September 19, 1997


In Gabriele Leidloff‘s Ugly Casting beautiful photographs animated in video sequences are shown: faces photographed from a great distance, a blurred mouth and eyes standing out against the light background. Faces are approaching, lips press on lips. Leidloff photographed death-masks taken from people after they had been executed, assembles them for "The Kiss" and gives them a film texture for a few fleeting moments. Hers are images from a view of an image, a venture, an advance almost, into very intimate border areas tinged with taboo.

Westfaelische Rundschau, August 22, 1997



Wissenschaftliches Verfahren als künstlerisches Prinzip. Gabriele Leidloff zerlegt mit alltäglicher Technologie - Video, bildgebende Verfahren der Medizin, Fotografie - Situationen in Sequenzen und ordnet sie zu einem analytischen Film. Sie befragt die technischen, bildlichen und psychologischen Voraussetzungen von Grenzen/Tabus, Bewegung und Zeit.

In Ugly Casting installiert Leidloff 11 Fotografien der Gesichtsmasken sogenannter Krimineller - die in der dunkelsten Stunde Europas hingerichtet wurden - und einen Videomonitor, der diese Fotografien als Filmsequenz zeigt. Ihre Aufnahmen überarbeitete sie in verschiedenen fotografischen Prozessen zu Szenen und Gesten, die wie Stills aus Hollywood-filmen wirken. Der großformatige Filmstreifen, der über den Raum greift, stellt im letzten Bild das letzte Bild des Menschen in statischer Bewegung und anderer Zeitfolge auf einer Endlosschleife dar.

Leidloff nutzt das kinetischen Medium Video um statische Bilder zu verfilmen, während die in sich statischen Fotografien durch den Betrachter in Bewegung versetzt werden.