Barbara Probst (DE)
Exposure #55: Munich, Waisenhausstrasse 65, 01.17.08, 1:55 p.m.

5 October - 9 November, 2013


Peter Lav Gallery is pleased to announce a solo show by the German artist Barbara Probst (b. 1964)

The works of Barbara Probst are always composed by a group of photographs. At first glance they appear mysteriously connected, yet without revealing their secret. Closer observation reveals that they all portray the same scene and have been taken in the same second, but from very different angles.

For Probst this fragmentation of the instant into a series of images is the tool for exploring the many ambiguities inherent to the photographic image. In her work the relationship of the photographic instant to reality is intensified in two distinct ways, whereby the captured moment acquires an almost unsettling quality: on the one hand, Probst abandons the single-eyed gaze of the camera and divides it into various points of view. On the other, she multiplies and diversifies the short moment of the shot. Thanks to a radio-controlled release system she can simultaneously trigger the shutters of several cameras pointed at the same event or subject from different angles and various distances. From each angle the gaze of the camera gives us a different view of the same reality, thus revealing all its subjectivity.

At the same time Probst uses this method to explore photographic conventions and typologies such as reportage, surveillance, portrait, fashion and the cinematic image, as well as the condition of these images in our memory and consciousness. The contexts are often photographic sets or outdoor locations like Central Park, streets in New York City or the rooftops of skyscrapers. In many pictures one of the cameras can be glimpsed, thus becoming an actor in the scene.

Probst’s works call on the viewer to enact critical thinking and viewing, and they do so with a finely tuned mix of seriousness and humor. Her images question the role of the viewer and the influence of the different interpretations that arise in confronting photographic images.

While most of Probst’s works depict seemingly straightforward subjects such as a small group of people or a simple street scene the work Exposure #55 relies on a more narrative strategy. It references cinematic conventions of storytelling thereby suggesting a dramatic chain of events full of suspense. But of course there is no chain of events. All of the individual images that make up the work are taken at exactly the same moment in time, thus collapsing what seems to be a flow of time into a single instant.

The exhibition coincides with a large-scale exhibition of Barbara Probst’s work at The National Museum of Photography in Copenhagen curated by Jens Erdman Rasmussen. The exhibition is accompanied by a new extensive book on Barbara Probst’s Exposures published by Hatje Cantz.

Barbara Probst was born in 1964 in Munich, Germany; she lives and works in New York and Munich. Her work was shown at MoMa New York in the 2006 „New Photography” exhibition. She has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions, among others 2007 at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; in 2008 at Domaine de Kerguehennec, Bignan, France and The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Wisconsin; in 2009 at Stills Gallery, Edinburgh and Kunstverein Oldenburg in Germany. In 2007, Steidl published an extensive monograph of her work: Barbara Probst: Exposures.