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Claudia Angelmaier's work concerns the mechanical reproduction of artworks and the function of the art facsimile for scholarly study and personal use. This exhibition features a selection from her recent series "Works on Paper," in which she enlarges souvenir postcards of masterpieces by 17th- to 20th-century artists. More than just actual-size replicas, Angelmaier's photographs present backlit postcards of paintings that depict women viewed from the back. Further, just as these female figures are rendered, the cards are also photographed from the back. Thus, the reversed images of the paintings are combined with their captions, credits, and bar codes. Consequently, the observer is forced to maneuver through the text, as well as a scrim of milky paper that desaturates the pigments and flattens the brushstrokes, in order to glimpse a woman who has frustratingly turned away.

Angelmaier's photographs go beyond provoking questions about the copy and the original, the concept of the actual-size reproduction, or the art as product. She photographs the reproduction in order to create a third version of interpretation.

Claudia Angelmaier earned an MA in Art History in 2001 from the Technical University, Berlin, a Diploma in Fine Art/Photography in 2006 from the School of Visual Arts, Leipzig, and the title "Meisterschüler" in 2008 after her postgraduate studies. Angelmaier has received a number of grants and awards, such as the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation Scholarship for Contemporary German photography. Her work has been shown in galleries and museums in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. Angelmaier's photographs are included in public and private collections, including the State Art Collection of Dresden and the Museum of Fine Arts Leipzig. The artist has two monographs to date: Color and Gray (2007) and Claudia Angelmaier – L'image et l'objet (2009), and was also featured in Aperture (2008) and Photography now (2009).

– Jennifer Uhrhane

My newest series, "Works on Paper," considers art postcards that show reproductions of "Rückenfiguren" — protagonists shown only from the back — painted by well-known artists. Normally, postcards are purchased on the way out of the museum; they are often written upon or mailed. More commonly, they end up above desks at work or archived as part of a collection in one's own "imaginary museum." The art postcards function as souvenirs, as a reminder of the originals, and their mass-produced images contribute to their popularization.

Looking at "Works on Paper," the spectator witnesses the transfiguration of the commonplace. In my photographs, simple art postcards — which reduce all artwork to the standard postcard scale of 4 x 6 inches — are enlarged to several times their original size.

Working within a professional photography studio environment usually reserved only for original paintings, I replicate each postcard in meticulous detail. While doing so, my attention is directed at its verso, which includes standardized information about the image and its copyright. However, the photograph, which is taken on a backlit surface, does not merely copy the information on the back of the card. It allows the card's front to emerge through the back, resulting in a reversed and subtle image, reduced in hue. Through subsequent enlargement, each dimly preserved impression is restored back to the size of the original painting. With this, I complete the cycle of transformation: the work of art is confronted with its reproduced counterpart. Within the interplay of text and image, the depicted backs of female figures are revealed, but at the same time remain concealed.

– Claudia Angelmaier

I Heart Photograph blog

We would like to thank Hannah Frieser for assisting with the translation of Claudia Angelmaier's text.