by Jens Masmann
100 pages A4
loose binding with silicone rubberband
open edition, signed
40 euros plus postage
shortlisted for the 2021 images vevey book award
shortlisted for the 2022 Singapore Photo Festival book award
In the time of the Corona pandemic, when we are forced to step back and withdraw from the life we knew before, the body of work CORNUCOPIA deals with the simulation of impressions we have gathered in the course of our lives. CORNUCOPIA is about abundance in times of isolation and restrictions during the Corona pandemic.
The content of C O R N U C O P I A a is formed around the expressions „Simulacrum/Simulation“, „Replacement“, „Improvisation“ and „Damage“.
The topics for the small studio setup simulations are inspired by Instagram hashtag top charts, which represent the manifold imagination of beauty in the photographic medium: a search on Instagram for the hashtag „sunset“ reveals 278 million hits, „flowers“ delivers 212 million hits and the top hashtag is „selfie“ with 447 million hits; hashtag „reflections“ makes it to 28 million hits.
So this gave me a wide playground of photographic stereotypes to work with. Just a few examples: Instead of a real sunset I show the narration of a sunset, the real selfie is replaced by a figure containing only some traces of me. My still lifes share main aspects with the numerous variations of the topics on Instagram - the kitsch and the cliché - , but they play with and bend the expectations of the viewer who is trying to find counterparts to the images he has stored in his mind.
My aim is to scrutinise traditional procedures in photography and to bend the established aesthetics.!
The still life pictures are complemented by images taken on the empty streets during Corona, showing details of imperfection, improvisation and damage. This emphasises the idea of abundance by creating a contrast and at the same time is a substantial reference to the special period in which the project has developed, a time when we are forced to improvise on a daily basis many aspects of our life.
The artwork is accompanied by some short quotations taken from „The Tempest“ by William Shakespeare. In „The Tempest“ the protagonists are cast up on a lonely island, a surrealistic place, which is paradise and cage at the same time. It reminded me of the current - pandemic - situation and thematises, in a somehow similar way as CORNUCOPIA, exuberant beauty in a restricted surrounding.