Museum of Contemporary Art Monastery Admont, 2013, 2006
Kardinal König Haus Salzburg, 2009
Nexus Kunsthalle Saalfelden/Austria, 2008/09
Gallery MAM Contemporary Art Vienna, 2008
Austrian Cultural Forum New York, 2007
Gallery Fotohof Salzburg, 2006
The monk figures emerge dark-gray from the black background, completely wrapped in their robes. Their skin of their bodies, their hands and face remain hidden. Since the searching gaze does not find any suitable answer in the picture, it finds its goal in the slow and careful viewing of surfaces, in the complex folds of cloth texture as well as in the shimmering and smooth surfaces of the photographic prints. The richness of low-contrast photographs becomes revealed in the shadowy details.
Invited to create a piece for the museum of contemporary art at Benedictine convent of Admont, the artist took up her earlier series. Yet as opposed to „mexicoish“ and „balance of mind“ the bodies are not more or less modelled by the tightly fitting fabrics, but rather disappear in it, or to be more precise: they merge with it. The richly falling folds recall Gothic pictorial carvings and cloister rules, which are supposed to promote the spiritualization necessary for meditation by means of transcending the body.
The positions of the monks are only coherent to a certain degree. Some remain in pensive poses while others make sweeping gestures, thus giving the pictures spatiality and depth and lending a certain weight to the sculptural bodies. While not losing the force of gravity they drift over the surface of the picture, covering each other, without touching, standing for themselves yet not isolated from each other. This is also true for the photographs. There is neither a top nor a bottom, and since one follows the other there is also no center that clearly guides the reading of the picture.
What first appears to be more an issue of reception aesthetics, points at the same time to one of the basic qualities of photography. As a technical pictorial medium it is practically able to evenly capture something that it assimilates - as opposed to conventional painting and graphic design. It allows carefully arranged compositions to reveal the same precision as ephemeral details - details the photographer possibly does not even notice when she takes the picture. Documentary pictures that focus on actions, perspectives or visual points and concentrate on the alleged illusionist character of the medium, usually transcend this precision in a fleeting way. Pictures like those of Huemer, however, succeed in once again revealing the precision of photography. Friedrich Tietjen 2006.
© Judith Huemer 2020