21.11.2008: Claudia Fährenkemper in Siegen

Claudia Fährenkemper IMAGO

I rarely draw attention to exhibitions by others via my mailing list, but in this case the artist Claudia Fährenkemper is particularly close to my heart. From 1993 to 1996, Claudia Fährenkemper taught photography under Jürgen Königs at the University of Siegen. The many conversations with Claudia Fährenkemper during the last years of my studies were crucial for my later development and today we have a close and long-lasting friendship.

Claudia's exhibition IMAGO opens tonight at the Art Galerie, Fürst-Johann-Moritz-Straße 1 at 7pm.


Claudia Fährenkemper IMAGO
November 17 to January 11 2009

Claudia Fährenkemper, born in 1959, studied photography between 1987 and 1989 at the Cologne University of Applied Sciences under Arno Jansen and from 1989 to 1995 at the Düsseldorf Art Academy under Bernd and Hilla Becher and Nan Hoover.

The artist approached the micro-world through landscape and industrial photography. From 1988 to 1993, she used a large-format camera to create an extensive documentary series about the huge mining equipment in German opencast lignite mines. She was interested in the photographically precise reproduction of the intricate and mobile constructions and their enormous dimensions, which were almost impossible to capture with the human eye.

In 1994, she exchanged the large-format camera for a microscope and an exciting change of perspective from the extreme macro-dimension of technical devices to the micro-dimension of natural life followed.

"The portraits of insects, plant seeds, crystals and plankton - series that Claudia Faehrenkemper has been working on continuously since 1995 until today with the help of the electron microscope - form a gallery of ancestors of the microcosm.

The IMAGO series, in which the insect's heads are formally regarded as portraits of individuals, clearly shows that the artist is not only interested in reproducing radical dimensions but also in questioning proportions and their anthropomorphic effect. The unreal-reality - a common thread in the artist's photographic oeuvre - of these strikingly large-format photographs results from an interplay between naturalistic fidelity and artifice, between seen microcosm and photographically created macrocosm, between beauty to be felt and terrifying discomfort. Like many artists - increasingly since the 1990s - Fährenkemper uses scientific working methods and equipment, including those related to image processing, to explore the capacities of the image. She navigates within the realm of 40 to 5,000 times magnification and embarks on a search for the likeness that contains everything: Nature, manipulation, realism, abstraction and magic." Sabina Leßmann, Kunstmuseum Bonn

Her insect portraits from the IMAGO series can be seen at the Art Galerie Siegen from November 21 2008 to January 11 2009, arranged like pictures from a gallery of ancestors. The book "Insektenportraits" (144 pages, 40 illustrations in Novatone) will be published by Kettler as a companion to the exhibition, and there will also be a special edition with a signed and numbered silver gelatine print in 20×25cm.

The inauguration will take place on Friday, November 21, 2008 at 7pm in the ART Galerie, Fürst-Johann-Moritz- Str. 1, 57072 Siegen.

Art Galerie
Helga Oberkalkofen
Fürst – Johann – Moritz – Str. 1
57072 Siegen

Tel.: 0271/339603
Fax: 0271/339601

Opening hours of the exhibition
Thursday and Friday from 2 to 7pm and by appointment