In February this year, when François suggested once again showing the 1987 works at the Rencontres d’Arles 2009, I first responded sceptically. But after brief reflection, I was extremely excited by the idea of using them as the starting-point of a space that would reach beyond this period’s boundaries, show significant nineties work and extend to the immediate present.
At the beginning, therefore, are some representations of my body and my face, always taken in black and white with a 6x6. These are, if you like, little performances staged only for the camera’s eye, and which gave rise to most of the multi-part pictures. This set, begun around 1983–1984, stopped in early 1988 when I left East Germany. In the following years, the body remained the sole subject of my work; structure and form varied, and colour was now the essential element.
In 1997 over a period of four months I photographed a window of my then flat in Kreuzberg (Berlin): always the same window, which continually altered in appearance as the light changed and underwent small changes of aspect. Many of my multi-part pieces resulted from this material, which was first ordered in a linear way with an emphasis on the large size of isolated elements (each photo in these series was 180 x 120 cm), then later like pictures ordered into overlapping sequences, with images that were irregular in composition and usually small (72 x 49 cm). These were intended to stress the irregularity of the overall form which the work’s characters highlight. They had a title I considered to be programmatic: Multiple Entry. And they simultaneously formed the transition to the fourth elements of my little space in Arles: three photographs from a 2006 series, Palastbilder (‘Palace Pictures’). This cycle comes from the demolition of the Republican Palace in Berlin, one of the prestigious buildings of the defunct GDR. It shows the palace already totally gutted, with its unfinished inner structure: in the sequence of situations, this structure is brushed, in a kaleidoscopic and sometimes also an emblematic way, by the outside environment, through the large windows of the building which is clearly defined by the sequence of window panes.
Thomas Florschuetz, March 2009.
Thomas Florschuetz’s work has been shown at the Rencontres d’Arles in 1987.