┐ Steffi Klenz └

© Steffi Klenz, Untitled, from the series Hewitt’s Heap, 2011

© Steffi Klenz, Untitled, from the series Hewitt’s Heap, 2011

“The first thing we ought to note here is that the German word for the uncanny is ‘unheimlich’. As Freud famously pointed out a century ago, ‘heimlich’, which literally translates as ‘homely’, means two separate things; both familiar and safe, but also secret and concealed. Freud suggests that the logic of the word heimlich develops along its own path until it begins to coincide with unheimlich, allowing him to argue for a proper psychological description of the uncanny as the trauma of the unfamiliar appearing from within the familiar. In Freud’s case this leads him onto the discussion of doubles, phantoms and severed body parts, but it retains the architectural hints of its etymology.

So we might now begin by reading Klenz’ images as visual analogies of this sensation – at the simplest level the forms of the image are easily recognisable and yet in their negative light they are estranged, twisted, unfamiliar. Let us consider the setting, a domestic interior: here the metaphors abound. We already note that the uncanny is related to the home, but of course both uncanniness and the home are the conditions of and for haunting, and Klenz’ images play substantially with this language of ghostliness.(…)

The notion of ghostliness should be treated a little more seriously, however. Without having to take ghosts literally one has to accept that the idea comes from somewhere; perhaps like deities, the notion of ghostliness arises automatically to fill an absence in being. The inescapable tension between the veridical finitude of being and its phenomenological endlessness allows for a condition whereby when we make marks we transfer a fragment of our being into the realm of the dead. The folk notion that photograph steals the soul is a naïve way of describing the genuinely uncanny effect of having a likeness frozen onto material in time, a strange hint of our own paradoxical ghostliness.”

excerpt from an article by Douglas Murphy about Steffi’s other series: Caster, but that I think accompanies this one just as well. Full article in Photomonitor

Steffi’s www home here

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