Berlin: Ono Ludwig
Since 2009, the Berlin photographer Ono Ludwig has been exploring the creative potential of the camera obscura. He continues to create playful and sometimes unsettling self-portraits today in continuously developing series. As a result of the camera obscura’s long exposure time, Ono Ludwig does not have to worry about reflections or reaction time, and he exploits the resulting dramatic freedom. The tension that is immanent in the portraits arises from the play of humour and anxiety, irony and seriousness, nearness and distance. It reveals a duality of the outer and the inner, the visible and the concealed, the touching and the grotesque, the real and the fictional, the voyeuristic and the exhibitionistic. The dramaturgy of the photographs transcends gender boundaries and shows not only individuals in Ono Ludwig’s life but also icons of the past and the present. The photographer surrenders himself to the interpretation of the public, reflects his own state of mind and encourages viewers to mistrust the codes that establish identity.
The receipt of a scholarship can be a decisive moment in an artists‘s career: Ono Ludwig received a bursary for the ‚Werkakademie Leipzig‘, participating in the Master Class for Photography under the supervision of Dr. Eva Mahn.Part of the foundational program was to build a Camera Obscura, which inspired the artist to develop a series of self portraits.
The results are playful, yet very intimate self portraits. The tension between performance, self experiment and censorship of self produces a series of works that surprise and reveal the unexpected. The long exposure time of the Camera Obscura allow a playful and expressive freedom, which Ono Ludwig utilized to mirror his psychological conditions.
These types of work seem to require a sense and pleasure of self performing . This differs from artist to artist. For some it is a rather difficult task, yet one that has to be done particularly when the work aims to go beyond ‚white teeth and happy smiles‘, but instead demands to explore the inner landscapes and shadowy grounds of the human soul in order to make these transparent to the viewer. The focus on past and present, the historical and social components form an emotional framework that gives the work a fragile and vulnerable outlook, which allows the viewer to be touched in return.
In some of the photographs the effect of self performance goes so far it seems that Ono Ludwig demands to erase any gender differences or traces. These images have a relieving humorous and at times grotesque quality. The tension inherent in all of the works is created by the apparent and inherent dualistic tension within the individual: the clash between outer and inner; familiar and hidden aspects; reality and fiction; voyeurism and exhibitionism.
It leaves us, the viewers, no chance but to leave everything concerning our own identity that we always believed to be set in stone behind and go on a journey of self discovery and search of identity. Traveling blind in a new and liminal world.
The results of this new and interesting artistic exploration can now be viewed for the first time in Leipzig.
Ono Ludwig - Self-Portraits with the Camera Obscura
Curator : Anja Bischoff
Until November 30th, 2012
Pflüger68 Bürogemeinschaft und Galerie
T 030 . 78 00 12 81
Mon-Fri 10 am-6 pm and by arrangement