THE VIRGIN’S LAND, 2019, Video Loop, 4K, 1`40 min, Loop
THE IDEA OF LANDSCAPE
27.01.2022 – 12.03.2022
The video Virgin`s Land shows the artist on a deserted beach, holding in her hands a golden rescue blanket caught by the wind, blowing like a flag. The title of Johanna Reichs work allows various associations. The artist stands on pale sands like a rock in stormy times, offering the emergency blanket to those who might come by sea. At the same time the reflection of the moving golden surface reveals a play of light and shadow, splendid and dazzling, like a medieval picture.
While Johanna Reich appears androgynous or neutral in most of her earlier videos dressed in neutral clothing with hooded tops, here she is deliberately recognizable as a female actor – a female view of the past, the present and the future. The prospect of a new beginning?
Johanna Reich was born in Minden in 1977. She studied at the Kunstakademie Münster, the Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg and the Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln and is since working performance-based with video and photography. She received national and international awards and scholarships like the Nam June Paik Award, the Excellence Prize of the Japan Media Arts Festival, Tokyo, the Media Art Award NRW and the Konrad-von-Soest Prize. She took part of several artist residencies Romania, the USA, Luxembourg and Spain.
Her works are part of international Collections like the Jerry Speyer Collection New York, the Goetz Collection Munich or the Collection of Museum Ludwig Cologne.
Earth’s global sea levels are rising – and are doing so at an accelerating rate. Waters in the ocean are expanding as they absorb massive amounts of heat trapped by green- house gases in Earth’s atmosphere. Not only is more water flowing into the ocean from ice sheets and glaciers – the warmer water of the ocean is taking up more space, ad- ding to sea level rise. Climate change works like a sculptor: Land disappears. The shape of the coastline is transformed by the force of the water into a new form.
Climate Central, an independent organization of leading scientists has created a map offering online data and maps about the rising sea level. Johanna Reich did polaroids from the the coastline of France, Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany. During the development process she did scan the polaroids. On the images the old shoreline and the „new“ shoreline, shaped by the water becomes visible.
SHAPE OF THE SHORE, 2021, digital c-prints, mounted on all dibond, 120 x 90 cm each
With the choice of her pictorial theme, Johanna Reich consciously quotes the different possibilities and various intellectual approaches with which humanity has tried since prehistoric times to understand and master the world. Whether with an image or a mathematical formula, whether analogue or digital. For Reich, these diverse references and cross-connections are about the pictorial visualisation of this continuous process of appropriating the world. Individual works, such as à la lumière in which there is the attempt to incorporate, climb and measure ammonites, those stony witnesses to the beginnings of our world, can be read in terms of ALL THE WORLD’S A FRAME as indications that this process has not yet ended. She sees her continuous process of finding and questioning images then as outside this “FRAME”, this framework, more as her striving for a vocabulary that allows her to “master” her, our world.
À LA LUMIÈRE, 2019, Video projection on six petrified fossils, 60 x 20 cm
THE IDEA OF LANDSCAPE, 2022, A.I. generated Haikus, Acrylic and ink on canvas, LED lights
The work cycle the idea of landscape shows canvases of natural linen covered with few traces of paint; behind the traces of paint words of light shine in pulsating rhythm. Human and ma- chine impact merge: the human gesture of ephemerality leaves a trail of paint with the desire to create a non-painting that serves as the basis for an AI-generated haiku about global warming. The automated haiku can be seen as a current continuation of the French OuLiPo movement (L‘Ouvroir de Littérature Potentielle), which sought new structures and patterns in literature in the 1960s.
Upon closer examination, the unconscious human gesture and the human response to climate change have much in common: How do we see ourselves connected to this earth? How do we see the landscape that surrounds us? With reams of data, we try to think about climate change and create an artificial distance between ourselves and the nature that surrounds us – ecological change.