Front view
Inv. No.S-2459
ArtistEsther Hagenmaierborn 1975 in Germany


Detail, Heiligkreuzkirche, Chur (CH)
Architect: Walter M. Förderer, 1967–1969

from the series "shaped photography"

pigmentbased inkjet print on paper on aluminum Dibond

Dimensions42 x 45 cm
Edition2/4 (+1 e.a.)

Even while selecting the respective image section, Esther Hagenmaier already reduces her motifs, which are mostly architectural, to highly charged, formal references; in the next step she rejects anything that she regards unimportant, distracting or simply uninteresting. In a slow process of reduction she removes image elements, crystallizes out hidden relationships – while any remnants of narrative fragments are definitively winnowed out. The line achieves increasing significance, surface and form adopt a role as autonomous players. The shadow, that immaterial co-participant, gains tension-filled power until it even dominates some motifs by defining the space. The photographed architecture inevitably loses significance in comparison to its skeletized extract.

The artist could have achieved all this with digital image processing: she could, so to speak, have pixelled away anything that interrupted her view. But she has chosen a more radical, more interesting method. Right from the start she reduces the internal structure as far as possible, then she simply cuts away everything at the outer edges that doesn’t suit her. The results of this process, which requires extreme precision, provide Esther Hagenmaier with an artistic form that exists between photography and sculptural wall object. In this way she strives to approach her designated goal as close as possible: to distil her own perception from the photographic image.
Esther Hagenmaier uses clipping and reduction, applies a process of reduction, to create places of refuge for the eye. The wall as basic element of every enduring architecture would seem to be the ultimate metaphor for viable, load-bearing structures. The concentration on the essentials engenders a sense of calm. The shaped photographies are not comfortable or easy – they remain stimulating thinking and recreation spaces.
(Birgit Höppl, M.A.)

S-2459, "extraction_06"
Esther Hagenmaier, "extraction_06", 2016
S-2459, Front view
© Esther Hagenmeier / VG Bild Kunst, Bonn