VOLATILE by Alex Kiessling
The exhibition focuses a series of large scale portraits circling volatile aspects of interpersonal encounters. Using shift effects that get in the way of seeing the portrayed people, Alex Kiessling breaks open the classical portrait tradition, subverting its original purpose. The tradition thus changes into a medium used to discuss contemporary digital imaging, connecting aspects of rotoscoping and data moshing.
The works offer a high degree of perfection, while questioning the art of portraiture. It also makes obvious the artist’s interest in digital image manipulation – instead of celebrating the portrait’s illusion of permanence, the work’s central theme seems the volatility of contemporary depicting systems.
With the new series, Kiessling departs from his previous series of hyper real portraits, which focused traumatic aspects of everyday settings. The new work seems stronger, stricter, more adamant – having disposed of the previous work’s backgrounds, it’s now solely the remaining people that operate within the canvases. At the same time, the shifts prevent any kind of visual clarity – the depicted people remain invisible, the visual effect surrounding them being the only thing to witness.