Annette Kelm’s sober work covers the range of portrait, still life, landscape, and architectural photography. Often created in the studio, her individual shots and picture series are always neutrally lit; many motifs are captured in frontal views. Her emphatically unspectacular “mises-en-scène” are haunted by subtle irritations arising, for example, from unusual combinations of objects stripped of their customary function. In her exhibitions, Kelm arranges the photographs, taken with medium and large format cameras, in groups that suggest visual associations and thematic analogies. Yet these spheres of association as well as the cultural references implicit in the motifs elude definite interpretation and confront the viewer with their refusal to submit to unambiguous iconographic decoding. In a subtle play with the expectations we bring to art, Kelm’s pictures instead examine how photographic signs are read and explore the tension within the image between object and composition; between pictorial space and surface.
For her new edition "Untitled (TZK)" for “Texte zur Kunst”, Kelm photographed tulips and horseshoe magnets in front of black-and-white vertical stripes. Unlike the monochromatic backdrops common in object and still-life photography, the iridescent striped fabric takes center stage, becoming a motif in its own right. Meanwhile, the magnets, whose place is usually in a physics class, have lost their function. Like the flowers protruding into the picture, they are subordinate to the typographical arrangement. The playful combination demonstrates that Kelm’s negotiation of questions about image and object is never fraught with gravitas.
Annette Kelm, „Untitled (TZK)“, 2013, C-Print, 25.3 x 30,9 cm, 100 + 20 A.P., numbered and signed on the back.