press release

With Christopher Williams (b. 1956 in Los Angeles), Zoe Leonard (b. 1961 in New York) and Roe Ethridge (b. 1969 in Miami) we are pleased to be able to present to you in our gallery’s Showroom three contemporary American photographers.

All three artists are interested in various ways not only in the photographic image but also in the conditions that the medium of photography is subjected to. The details that Zoe Leonard takes from completely unglamorous shop windows lead before the eyes a form of consumerism that takes place on the periphery of our perception, separately from aestheticisation and overblown advertising strategies. She thus does away with any kind of dramatisation. The almost square format of her photographs is unfocused; not one of the frontally recorded objects in them has a special, underlined meaning attributed to it. As a result the same aesthetic value is applied to a sign like the hand-written “Back-School Shoes” as to the shoes presented in the display. The laconic in what is presented is echoed in the laconic of the presentation.

As a total contrast in Christopher Williams’ work the most banal things and situations are taken from the everyday and raised to an aesthetic level. In this way an ordinary “Packset (small, with tape)” from the German Post Office becomes through its isolation and placement at the centre an enigmatic object full of meaning. The exact enumeration in the detailed titles of what is being shown, often indicating the time and place of the shots, can in their soberness and pretence at objectivity assume absurd features. The renunciation in the photographic presentation of a subjective view, in which in addition it is still underlined that Williams had the shots made by professional photographers, counteracts itself in this way.

Finally Roe Ethridge is interested in conventions that determine the various genres of amateur photography in which the stereotyped dreams of modern consumer society are poured: The cruise ship on the distant horizon just as much as the romanticism of a night-time storm and the portrait of two young girls.

The exhibition in Mai 36 Galerie runs from the 26th August to the 1st October 2005. The opening is on Thursday the 25th August from 5pm, simultaneous with the exhibition of Christoph Rütimann. We will be happy to send you appropriate visual material on request.

We look forward to being able to welcome you to the gallery and thank you for your interest.

Mai 36 Galerie Victor Gisler and Luigi Kurmann


only in german

Christopher Williams, Zoe Leonard, Roe Ethridge