Andrea Gruetzner


Project section

Andrea Grützner: Erbgericht

Artist’s statement

The „Erbgericht“ is a traditional guest house in the eastern part of Germany for more than a hundred years. This house is, as the cultural center of the village, a projection screen for generations of memories and emotions. As a native of the area I feel both at home, but simultaneously alienated. This alienation stems from a sense that I missed a crucial page in the history and present of the building, the village, perhaps Eastern Germany itself. My pictures are an attempt to color in the abstract thoughts and feeling I have when the people of the village are trying to describe their experiences and while I am sneaking through all the different rooms. The interior itself is like an intriguing collage of different historic styles and patterns. This fascinating building really has cast a spell over me and touches me in an inspiring way I can’t really explain in words. To deal with that I’ve started to build up my personal experimental framework. The photos are the results of an ongoing visual dialog with dozens of sketches.

The flash is sort brutal. It chops the traditional space into uncomfortable pieces and it throws sharp shadows. At times it’s hard to tell if you’re looking at shadows, objects, or surfaces in the pictures. As an imperfect representation, or trace of a real object, shadows are closely related to photography: they both show things which are or have been there as a distorted version of reality. So, the installed filtered lights produce a near-instant moment of de-familiarization in the house itself, not clearly visible to the eye. This transient appearance is fixed on the analog film material, and other spaces full of entangled relations are unveiled. Based on the photographs, one reconstructs the place in a totally different manner; a process similar to how we recall places and spaces in our memory. The real house echoes in the pictures, in which one’s sense of time and space becomes lost. I use photography to create a tension between abstraction, imagination and the real existence of a place in order to express my feeling that most things lurks below the surface and are not ordinarily accessible to the senses.

© Andrea Grützner. 

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