Anna Hofbauer, Anja Ronacher
AH: Can you tell us about how you were led to the antique objects shown in your recent works?
AR: I was researching the relationship of art and the gift (looking at objects that are treated in the museums as art but were originally produced for gift-giving, sometimes for their own destruction). Many objects I photograph are funerary equipment, they were made out of clay (which is earth) to be buried again, invisible to the living. There is a lavishness and beauty in this act that seems impossible in our utilitarian and enlightened society. Some of the objects were buried until the 19th or 20th century and were only then unearthed by archeologists.
AH: What is your relationship to the idea/institution of a museum?
AR: Perhaps museums play a crucial role for a spirituality that has been lost, a futile invocation of the ancestors in a struggle against the terrifying void. This struggle against could also be a struggle for nothingness. The historic discontinuity of the objects is brought to a contemporaneity in their presence in the museum. Here contemporary culture assembles, archives and categorizes them: presence of all times.
AH: How do you decide on your representation of the objects?
AR: All objects I photograph are shown in their (now) original context. Some of them are placed inside vitrines, I am interested in the distance the vitrine creates, it resembles the distance we encounter in the image. Framing has become an important device for showing this distance, at the same time I try to get closer. Like the photographic image the objects remain withdrawn in a space beyond touch.
AH:Some archaeological interpretations are as representative for the time that they have been created in as ideas and aesthetics of science fiction movies or books. Do you have a favorite story of some historic object or site – scientifically proven or not - that you care to share with us?
AR: White ground lekythoi were used in ancient greece as funerary equipment. On one of the lekythoi in the work „white ground lekythoi“ we see a depiction of a small winged figure above the head of the deceased, this „Eidola“ (shadow figure) represents the soul.
AH:Your works also deal with questions about methods and materials of cultural identification. What is Europe 2013 for you?
AR: Knowing subjects and proprietors, the museum seems an emblematic space. Perhaps the recurrence of antiquity in contemporary art shows a need to rethink the ground of human artistic activity, searching for " a new logic (...) one that grasps the innermost depths of life and death without leading us back to reason.“ (Deleuze in Bartleby; or, the formula), open to an affective intensity and enchantment beyond knowledge