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The identity of a person rarely confines itself to the exterior. For this reason, not only the appearance but also the identity of a person in the visual arts is an object of ever new interpretation. A representation of identity does not require a photorealism, no detailed depiction of a person. Rather, it is the invisible, the intangible, which can be grasped only by intuition and empathy, but not pure understanding, from outside. Artists of all ages, generations and in all media form not only foreign identities, but especially their own - through self-portraits that give an intimate insight into self-perception, or through the overall, development and personality of an artist.
Identity is nowhere so strongly represented, but also staged, as in the media.Screens are used to exchange images that represent what is to be seen. Yet these images, which create identity and at the same time adulterate it, consist only of tiny pixels, which no longer have a single meaning. More importantly, every photo and documentation of our identity is only one pixel in the mass of representations and projections that surround us every day.
Exactly this alienation, the pimpled, anonymous, can be seen in the works of Andreas Lau. The closer you get to the large-format works, the more you get away from their contents, until the structured color surfaces can give no more information about the person depicted. The view behind the facade, which is created from a distance, remains empty and abstract.
The identity in the work of Reinhard Voss is also designed. Not with colored pixels on canvas, but by the variety of material and shape. From wood with various structures and patterns, he composes reliefs, paints and tattoos them - a staging of juxtaposed parts, which as a whole remain abstract and leave only the impression of an empty face. These faces offer the viewer a projection surface, but no real information about their identity. Analyzing individual parts can trigger understanding, but no comprehension, and even a complete figure shows only what the artist wants to show.
Identity is the most personal thing that every human being possesses, and is never fully understood from the outside. And yet, with every action, every word, everything you do every day, you give a small insight into this unfathomable mystery. An artist most by his art. A search for the identity of the protagonists of a work will ultimately lead to its creator.
Text: Marina Sprenger