Noisy Images / Antje Van Wichelen / Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum, Cologne 2019

Antje van Wichelen lives and works in Brussels. In her photographic and film works she uses photographs from colonial image archives which she sorts into new categories, on the one hand, and inserts into new narratives, on the other. As she does so, the artist devotes herself to the clichés and underlying motifs of western photography collections and, in her installations, enquires how the “colonial gaze” can be thematized, reflected and disrupted. Among the questions that she pursues in her works is how the fascination and desire arose in the 19th century to measure, categorize and define the “Other”.
With the help of her method of consciously switching from the photographic medium to film, the originally frozen motifs of the archive photographs become dynamic and almost living portraits, in which the depicted persons appear to withdraw themselves from the viewer’s voyeuristic gaze. The quick succession of the lined-up photographs produces the effect that not only the shots’ underlying schemata and uniformity are revealed, but the individuality of every single personality is also made visible in particular.

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