Whether taking an everyday object into a very plastic abstraction, or re- photographing an existing photograph,the young German artist draws our attention to the actual fragments remained at the edge of the unveiling .
Trained at the Academy in Düsseldorf, where he studied two years with Thomas Ruff and Christopher Williams, Sebastian Riemer questions the image in photography as well as its materiality. Against the contemporary practices that manipulate the image with digital tools, he focuses his gaze and gesture on a detail or on the multiple layers that make up the original image.
Sebastian Riemer works on the visible surface through a rigorous technical scanning
"I work with photography" by Sebastian Riemer
Contemporary crucial properties of this media as it seems to me are asepsis and volatility. Today with digital means its manipulability reached its height. But also very important is its actual possibility and easiness of distribution. Backlit pictures on screens, tablets and smart phones. On- and offline. But also huge billboards in outdoor advertising leave their marks on our understanding of forms, functions and appearance of nowadays photography. So the meaningful surfaces are not anymore holders of engraved information but became recyclable. The enduring renewal of pictorial content at the very same place, the same bus stop or the same screen creates a trickery familiarity with these bearers of pictorial content. So one might have the suspicion of clinical sterile pictures unbound to parameters of existence. Immortal ones. It is an increasing mass. The meaning of individual images gets lost in this, and there is now something like a fast food effect while looking at those surfaces. Flavour enhancers included!
My Work uses photography to care for things in our surroundings which are worth a longer and lasting visual inspection. I'm searching and collecting material and motifs in a traditional manner. Offline and aware of their details, which tell so much.
I'm fascinated by technical or serial made things that had been exposed for a time to other factors than their authors. Especially highly informed and finished situations in their confrontation with chaos and unpredictability of their surroundings (e.g. the design of a speaker found on the streets, the ravage of time on outdoor advertisement prints). I make pictures which seems to repeat something already made and existing. But the technical aspect of enlargement and sharpness of photography offers unreality at a second glance.
I see my works like silver plates on which I'd like to serve the photographed things to the viewer. But without the possibility to reach for them. Because they were transformed into images. So I try to find a solution which is doing rather justice to the motifs than just using them. Most of my works are repro photos. Copy camera. precise 90 degrees. With an equal sharpness throughout the whole picture, Beautiful. Simple. Thing like Photograph. Straight. No retouching. Hyperreal.
The flat photo taken from the found image it seems should create a feeling of safety while visually doubling the found thing. Like taking a plaster cast mask of someone dead. I like to make them speak, so I'm willing to reduce all my pictorial influence to a minimum. Choosing and Cropping. Vanishing as the author of my works. The idea of photos as windows to the world is for me obsolete. They are objects in their own rights. I don't like some things to disapear unattended. I rather take them photographically and show them. Here I see myself as a collector and archivist of photographical created images that don't deny their origins from a direct visual experience.
The surreal qualitiy of precise repro photography helps me with this. Real surfaces transferred to unreal flat surfaces. Reality vs. Imagination. A doubtful confirmation of visability. Found motifs which depict the unmeant in this close cut circuit. Collages like the literal bug between the relays of early digital machinery or the real eye lashes in the plaster masks taken of the dead."