Johannes Wonsheifer | PHOTOFAIRS

Johannes Wonsheifer

Johannes Wohnseifer (born 1967 in Cologne, Germany) is a German contemporary artist and photographer whose multi-referential works reflect the history of art, photography and design. His works highlight the malleable nature of our visual perception, in which ideas and symbols can quickly assume new meanings. Recent solo exhibitions include Parkhaus im Malkastenpark, Düsseldorf, Johann König Galerie, BerlinGalerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne and Casey Kaplan, New York. Group shows over the past few years include exhibitions at the Sammlung Boros / Boros Collection, Berlin, MARTa Herford, Herford, Germany, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Sammlung Olbricht / me Collectors Room. Berlin among others. For his project at Photo Shanghai Wohnseifer will exhibit his series of ‘Polaroid Paintings’ which can be understood as a memento to the history of photography. They pay homage to the Polaroid print, a form of photography that was popular with everyday photographers in the 1960s and 1970s before almost disappearing as production of Polaroids ceased (before a recent revival). Wohnseifer’s ‘Polaroid Paintings’ challenge the functional use of Polaroids as a social and aesthetic means of documenting everyday reality, instead presenting a painted surface of a failed or out-of focus depiction that gains a new aesthetic value through this ‘failure’. Nothing in the 9 x 10cms images (which are the identical format to the original Polaroids) suggests the kind of everyday reality or snapshot of a special moment we would normally expect. Furthermore, these small format works suggest from a distance that a set of unsuccessfully developed photographs has been hung up for display. The principle that a photographic image might represent reality is questioned here – what appears to be an error in the Polaroid film process actually turns out to be a painted image.