Steffen Kern: Light cuts through darkness but not through fog

29 April - 27 May 2023

Steffen Kern's new solo show explores the relationship between the overflowing amount of images that fill our day-to-day lives and one's memory. 

Kern has a great fascination for pictures used in newspapers, which play an ever-increasing role in attracting audiences to read articles. His work touches upon a contemporary issue in which we are overwhelmed by a continuous stream of images on a daily basis that become unconsciously stored in our collective memory. Kern calls this abundance of mass-produced and digital images a "globalization of images". In his work he responds to this development creating new images with recognizable photographic aesthetics, making us reflect on how images leave a lasting impression in one's memory. 

By disguising his drawings as photographs, he deceives the viewer by luring them into a visual trap. A bedroom in dark red evening light, an abandoned hotel room in black and white and a burning house, it seems as if the camera stopped recording for a moment. Kern works with pencil, ink, and charcoal on paper: a traditional medium that he uses in a contemporary style. He works in both vibrant colors and black and white, a style that is uniquely characterized by luminous contrasts and soft contours. He uses the aesthetic features of photography, such as blur, depth of field, and overexposure, to create a photographic feel. He is not trying to imitate images; instead, he is showing how images are stored in his collective memory.


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