Centre De La Photographie Genève  


Joerg Bader






That the business of photography has links to death is not only known by the Paparazzi. The frozen moment constitutes the essence of photography. After the shutter has been released, every photograph draws us back into the past (it was - somewhere else). Moving images like film, video or electronic animation, hold us in the present (it is now happening - before our eyes). In her installations of static and moving images, the artist Gabriele Leidloff sets up a game of confusion to shatter our faith in images and the illusion of presence that they convey.


Leidloff’s X-ray images disturb because the skeletal structure is missing. We look at fabricated film scenes and their contours correspond to known models. Today, X-ray images are in the service of customs officials and the police as well as art historians attempting to date medieval panel paintings. Leidloff brings X-ray photography back to its origins, in particular, to the earliest interpretations of such images, which today mostly remain the preserve of medical doctors.

The artist also uses ultrasonic, computer tomography, eyetracking and other modern imaging technologies. This is not just to question their truth value as evidence, but to question our faith in scientific images by showing us other new and as yet unseen images.

Thus, she photographs, as in "Ugly Casting", death masks from the archive of a Hamburg museum, including the chance relations of the heads and their visible tenderness. Leidloff mounts these prints into a narrative line, as familiar with film stills, and as a last image shows a TV monitor with film stills moving in a video sequence.

In her film, "Ms. Olga de Mooy", the artist dissolves our visual codes. Although we see a lady putting on makeup, we realize that her slow movements are not the result of time lapse photography, but lead us back instead to her age.

In "Moving Visual Object" we are no longer sure of the presence of a human body. Leidloff produces a montage of channel-hopping images of the funeral procession of Princess Diana as it wends its way through narrow London streets. Already the title of the video, "Moving Visual Object”, draws us, as is usually the case with Leidloff, to the visual surface. Was the fetish of the masses, the coffin, perhaps, quite bodiless at this time?

Taking it as granted that photography reflects the past and film the present, we should ask what a "Moving Visual Object" placed in a moving image could mean.

As in Belting’s image anthropology, one could understand the sarcophagus as the first image to be discovered by humanity and, thus, close the circle to Leidloff’s own works.