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HomeContentsOnline exhibitions > Rolf Koppel: Still lifes

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Rolf Koppel
Still lifes

Let me tell you that I know I‘ve invested more in my pictures than the ‘classic‘ package in which they are wrapped. I discount beauty as much as does any conceptual artist. The challenge for me and for people viewing my pictures is to see still life as a sort of ‘directorial‘ mode. The classic allusion is just a reference to a concoction of influences from my past and a good natured bow of respect to someone’s artistic struggle. Well, yes, it‘s been a problem that the ingratiating surface is usually all that‘s read. But knowing I‘ve invested much more than that in the pictures gives me confidence. I know that still life, because it can be so much a ‘set up‘, can be as malleable as paint onto canvas or words onto paper. It can show myriad decisions and it can refer to innumerable things outside the picture. For instance, rendered light can be translated as an external force, fixing and revealing a subject in a dark interior like a soul in a body; or it can be an antidote to the severity of a ‘formal‘ idiom by introducing the sense of nature. Or the unexpected shadows which invade can bring a sense of the uncalculated. Some things in the frame can be left uncontrolled, others deliberately and obviously posed, and the combination can be read, hopefully, with some humor as "that‘s (still) life". And a still life can discuss the separateness of camera vision and retinal vision, both as strangely different and together as art and nature. And because of this difference from the world we see, a photographic still life can reside in a space we can truly call ‘a vision‘. Innumerable meanings whirl around a still life which is only a record of the activity of the artist. In this sense, what makes still life much more intriguing than its mere surface is its voyeurism, its ability to offer a keyhole into meaning and depth.
Rolf Koppel (January 29, 2008) 



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