Juliane Eirich


Simone Bergantini

Artist Feature

Every week an artist is featured whose single image was published by Der Greif. The Feature shows the image in the original context of the series.

Isabelle Wenzel - Field Studies

Oct 21, 2015

Glimmering heat. A country road, somewhere in the west of Germany, cars pass by, at the horizon single family homes, a kid playing in the yard, the mother watering the flowers, acres about and a little further away the forest. A bus station, the bus arrives, hums, with a hiss the doors open, with a click the doors close again to release passengers in a cloud of smog, which slowly trod away. On the other side of the road there is a woman in a flower dress, red stockings, rubber shoes in a field of rye. Unexpectedly she drops, freezes in a torsioned pose, repeats this action over and over again. She runs back and forth between a camera and the scene, auto exposure buzzed, there is a click, a stream of dust, some flowers are crushed, clothes and hair turn more and more tousled. Cars pass by without noticing, sun burns, the sweat of the woman mixes with the dust and they smear. From far away a tractor approaches chattered over uneven roads, a last look on the display, with the tripod stuck under the arm and a plastic bag in her hand she slowly disappears.     Field Studies is an ongoing project on which I have been working since 2014. For this project I have moved from a closed space to the open fields. Before for more then 5 years I was focusing mainly on finding endless photographic forms of a staged body at a studio set up. But then I came to the point where I needed some change in order to trigger and renew my creativity. I was curious what would be happening if I escape from the studio and let my subjects breathe in wider spaces. By this I wanted to get into a new experimental setting where chance and luck would interfere within my actions. This also meant that my very intimate situations, which I’m normally only dedicated to the camera, turned into a public situation. I was wondering which impact the moment of public would have on my actions and on the outcome. I’m interested in the combination of a physical expression and a technical reproduction of it and using photography as a material evidence of an event. While image making I have a very pure and intuitive way of how to get to my results, I work a lot with trial and error. All my movements are like sketches of what I’m mapping with the camera. I’m interested in the transformation moment where a fluid figural shape gets fixed for eternity. Due to my acrobatic education my way of working has a strong performance background, while working on Field Studies I wanted to investigate the relationship of performance and photography. I think it's quite interesting to see that with the emergence of performance art in the 60th and 70th lens based medias always played an accompanying role in order to witness these events. But the question is whether a performance can actually be represented through another medium? From eyewitness reports we know that most of the people experiencing a performance remember quite different aspects or different moments which were important to them. So I wonder at what we are looking at if we look at photographs of a performance, or what makes up a performance especially created for the camera; is it a piece of art in its own right, or a documentation of this event? So in the end the project is also about the questions what I’m actually doing and to get a better understanding of my own praxis; am I a photographer? A performer? Does this matter? And what do my images represent for the audience in the end?

Artist Blog

The blog of Der Greif is written entirely by the artists who have been invited to doing an Artist-Feature. Every week, we have a different author.

The Folder / Archive of my own movements

Oct 24, 2015 - Isabelle Wenzel

I'm a person that doesn't think in words much. My memory works through actions and images. I constantly collect images of my own movements and I’m fascinated by the fact that photographs freeze moments in time. I do have several folders filed with these images. I like to look at them and by finding new combinations I do not know anymore if I invented this things or if they are real. Today I post a little insight of my archive and some screenshots of image combinations. By this I want to give a fragment of my artistic praxis and my idea of photography as an imagination machine.


Oct 23, 2015 - Isabelle Wenzel

Since her early childhood she is fascinated by the fact of gravitation. It's something she didn't want to understand for very long and still doesn't do so completely. She always loved dreams of flying; they were the best. She remembers that she kept on jumping from the heater in order to overcome gravity. With every crash to the ground she felt more and more anger and disappointment. She believed that she was doing it in a wrong manner. Her parents had to stop her. And years later, when she was about 8 or 9 years old, they still tried to explain her that it's impossible to shield yourself against gravity. If a car folds down a cliff, why not jump out of it in the last moment before the crash and just be fine! Along with the denial of gravity came a belief in inviolability in a bigger sense. She had a lot of crashes and was quite a crash kind anyway; She jumped, ran and climbed better than everybody else and always got away with just some scratches and bruises. On a sunny Saturday afternoon in 2003 an impulsive young girl knew that within a second everything was different. She broke all her ligament in her right knee and knew that she had not only lost her inviolableness but also the naive child she had been. And half a year later she picked up a camera and started to photography memories of movements and the struggle with gravity. But her nightly dreams of flying seemed to be lost forever.

Automatic Release

Oct 22, 2015 - Isabelle Wenzel

I always looked for places to hide and hole up. I imagined a world, in which only myself existed. Or one in which nobody would find me. I always have been rather small and pretty well knew how to use it to my benefit. I tried to fit into the most unbelievable places. Places nobody would suspect me to be. I fit in suitcases or bags, imagined I would travel within them with a stranger. To places I have not been. I imagined that the stranger never realized I was with him. I liked him. Once in a while he would wonder about the weight of his stuff. I would be hidden so well among his belongings that he would never see me. And if he would find me, he would like me, too, at first sight, his small travel companion, maybe he would even fall in love with me. I generally tried to fit into or through anything. I had developed a system, which worked quite well. If the head could pass an opening the rest would also. I slid into cellars, squeezed through grates, and stuffed my small body onto the highest shelves. I slid through rings which actually where dedicated for a different purpose. At times I lay so flat under my blanket, that I disappeared. When somebody approached me, I breathed so low that no vibration could reveal my hideout. My heart jumped in joy when I heard the rest of the family running through the apartment searching me. Ideally I would have the chance to leave the bed to hide anew in a place they had just been searching in. When they came to me afterwards, and asked surprisedly where I had been, I acted astonished. I told them I had been sitting here all along and had been reflecting, pointing out that I could disappear being in thoughts, just dematerialize, but remaining in the room simultaneously. I was here and there and everywhere at the same time. When I was in a bad temper I rolled myself up in the living room carpet, forming a big long roll. Everybody knew that I was inside and I approved of that. The carpet was like a warning. My Mom always said that the carpet was vibrating with anger being inside. I only reappeared when I was better again. The darkness and the mouldy smell surrounding me reminded me of my grandpa. It gave me security, my fears were evaporated by the nothingness enveloping me. Once, as I was hiding in a large chest, in which all our toys were located I nearly suffocated. I had climbed into it and had arranged well with the toys. There I lay surrounded by stuff, my legs deranged to fit. Others would have thought, ‘Oh my, how can anybody take up such a position, that must hurt’, but for me it didn’t. I was trained in the art of being a contortionist. The only problem was, that, as I wanted to get out of the chest, the lid wouldn’t open. I don’t know whether the lock had closed in the closing process or whether it just was too heavy for me. I started to hit the walls and called for my brothers and sisters, somebody had to be close by. After a while I calmed down as my breathing became more difficult by the rage and yelling. I lay completely motionless and pondered about two alternatives. Either somebody would come before I suffocated looking for something or somebody would come afterwards. In the second case I would be dead. Was this to be looked upon as extremely terrible or just as something that could happen once in a while? I decided that I was indifferent about it. Of course it would be sad for the life I had before me, but there was nothing to do about it. In this manner I lay there thinking about my own death. It was quite surprising how one keeps calm in a moment like that. I did not feel sorry for myself but just waited in the believe that what would happen was the right thing. I couldn’t influence my fate any longer anyhow. I just wondered what it would be like if I were dead. Would it be just like now, within the dark box in which nothing of the outer world would be sustainable? Here the own body dissolved and just floated as a soft feeling of remembrance. Any action was impossible, but that what remained of myself could think and follow any thought. Or maybe there would only be darkness, nothingness. Can nothing be black, as black itself is something. Imagining nothing made my head ache. I tried to grab it, but there was nothing to grab. In the nothingness of the box my tummy slowly began to understand what it was. It embraced oneself and was like suction at the same time, maybe like complete isolation. The box I was in suddenly was completely unrelated to the outside world. It was possible that the lid suddenly opened and I would step out at a different location, into a totally different world, the kid’s room would be gone… I suddenly heard footsteps approaching. They came closer only to stop right in front of my box. A grip, the sound of the lid opening, then a painfully blinding light hit my eyes. I blinked a few times. I was back. All that remained was this specific taste on my tongue.