CHLOE 15x20 CM

                     based on a silver picture frame                     

The frame that includes a face is not only an external frame, marking the format of a photo, but a symbolic frame with which we perceive someone as an image.1

Saarbrücken, Germany  16.06.2017, household article department

Silver picture frame. Exact image size 15 x 20 cm. Behind the glass appears the portrait of a beautiful young woman: Brunette, blue eyes, nude lips. Her photo is available with the purchase of the frame. 16,99 Euro. On the back of the package is a name: Chloe.

What do you think of Chloe as a name for a girl? 
- “Nice name, but not for a Russian girl.”

Fascinated by the fact that Chloe merely acts as a placeholder, I’m thinking about the anonymous portrait till I decide to search for the oblivious woman.

An intensive research phase starts based on public accessible information around the photo, as well as the identity of the unknown. Google Image Search, Image databases, websites, Facebook, Instagram,  ...  An endless cycle.  A bottomless pit.

Contrary to the generic, non-permanent nature of stock photos, a complex relationship between me and the young woman emerges. The obsessive, one-sided activities turns me temporarily into her stalker and transforms Chloe into the object of my desire.

With the impossibility of being able to possess an intangible "thing”, desire suffers a defect. Only in the murder of the “thing”, in the renouncement of the "real", can the deficiency be compensated, to a certain degree.2

Under the influence of the constantly growing network of new information and images added from the real woman behind “Chloe”, the work changes it’s tone.

During this time I employed a make-up artist to transform myself into the likeness of the portrait. I then arranged a studio, lit scenario where I was photographed in a way that might immitate the original stock photo. This imitated portrait was smuggled into local retailer stores and placed on the same shelves amoungst the existing frames. I then returned to the store as a costumor and re-purchased my own portrait. No one notices it. 

While the original photo finds its inclusion  on the ground floor, the staged portrait depicting me as Chloe becomes part of the spatial installation in the basement. Through the spatial separation the distinction between the seemingly identical image is not automatically perceptible.

The installation Chloe 15 x 20cm proves to be a homage-like criticism and is a response to a single mass produced stock photo which inspired an installation with a total exhibition area of over 360m² .

All the more, these homeless pictures need a connection. Yes, it is a kind of homesickness that drives them around the world. They have a need to continueally search for a place where they might find meaning.3

Orchestrated by the voice of the narrator, the viewer finds him/herself in a labyrinth-like, multi-sensory, complex spatial situation. An assembledge of perfume odor and visually acoustic puzzle pieces.

Like the root system underneath a fruiting, the network of real information and my relationship to the image extends.

Chloes true name is never mentioned.

1 Hans Belting: Faces: Eine Geschichte des Gesichts. C.H. Beck 2014, S.202

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel: Phänomenologie des Geistes. 1807

Wolfgang Ullrich: Bilder zum Vergessen. Die globalisierte Industrie der „Stock Photography“