absence - hajo schiff /review

ulrich polster - absence - photography, prototype, image and narcissus /by hajo schiff

Berlin based artist Ulrich Polster shows in his fifth solo show at Galerie Jocelyn Wolff moving and restaged images that mirror his recent Italy experience. As a guest in the hide away of German romantic Olevano Romano and triggered by the death of his mother, classical landscape and art became quiet an ambiguous and fractured observation in which beauty and sorrow meet. In between meditative film projection and interactive photography extensions up to existential image markers in a twin projection image experiences are challenged and enlarged. In the mirror of the self onto the discovered world, found and his own inner images mix and find their metaphysical suspension in a magically talking light installation.

Ulrich Polster creates ambivalence and multiple meaning by deconstructing the entire spectrum of the media. He gene- rates liminal thresholds where viewers can fill in the material with extrapolative thoughts, with their own inner cinema.
He supplements single images with film excerpts on iPads which extend the narration, both in detail and in general, of the experience that has been condensed into a nutshell in the image. In the large film projection, however, he dimini- shes expectations of action or extended association by maintaining a single static shot showing the valley near Olevano Romano, where only clouds slowly drift by. By contrast, a twin-screen projection forces the viewer to alternate position physically and intellectually between joie de vivre and fear of death.

All perception is culturally grounded or personally overcharged. In Ulrich Polster’s Bildskizzen (Picture Sketches), the exploration of the figure of Narcissus (in the reproduction of Caravaggio) and literary texts displace references, and have equal say in whether an image can blossom into vital possibility or wither away as concluded memory. It’s akin to the socialist farmer mowing heads of wheat: when depicted in the graveyard this new setting turns him into the Grim Reaper.

Hajo Schiff © 2019