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In Wo waren Sie, Herr Renner? Volker Renner returns to the scenes of his numerous travels over the past years and takes a trip down memory lane. The artist’s book is his attempt to reveal the instability and vagueness of recollection (and seeing) that we usually cover up in our need to attribute meaning to everything. Renner’s pictures embrace these uncertainties and even play with them—if you identify the motif on the book’s cover as a mountain massif, you’ve already fallen for the first illusion. His work strategically upsets our (visual) habits, deliberately training the eye on the edges of our attention, on what we otherwise perceive only unconsciously or overlook altogether. For his most recent photobook, he went on a voyage into the depths of his personal photographic archive and compiled pictures he found along the trajectories of his recollections into a new possible narrative.
“To remember is to lie,” Harald Welzer writes in his theory of memory, but photographs are generally assumed to show what was. The artist toys with the different expectations we bring to various narrative genres by combining the pictures with whimsical “intertitles”— self-penned poetic, absurd, boastful, or ruminative aphorisms that play along the photographs in perpetual repetition, challenging the viewer to construct a connection between image and text. By weaving in a second narrative format, the artist emphasizes that photography, too, is only one strategy of storytelling among others, though one we like to believe we are good at figuring out. That is an illusion, as you will experience paging through this book.
Published by Volker Renner and Textem Verlag
230 x 300 mm