Candid Etui by Isabella d'Agostino and Alexandra Leykauf


Candid Etui

Galerie Martin van Zomeren 2014


The installation Candid Etui consists of hand colored photographs and black and white prints.

Starting point for the ongoing series were depictions of mostly 19th century interiors all of which were furnished with oriental carpets draped over daybeds, used as tablecloth, displayed on the wall or layered on the floor. It is striking how in those old photographs oriental concepts of imagery, expressed in the carpets’ ornaments, collide with the western notion of image space. Pattern and ornament, substantially two dimensional, are forced into the foreshortening and distortion, which the central perspective of the camera brings along.

Because the carpets are shown in perspective they come closer to what they were originally meant to be: remodelings of the oriental garden, displaceable, mobile pieces of land.

The process of coloring evokes imaginary landscapes and breaks up the depicted interiors.

The coloring has a life of its own, it does not retrieve the assumed original colors, but adds yet another layer to the depicted and actual surfaces of the images.

It is an attempt to change the carpets’ destiny as trophies from a distant world, encapsulated in the kind of home that Walter Benjamin so poignantly describes as an etui.

The colored photographs are juxtaposed and combined with reproductions of Flemish and Dutch landscape paintings from the period of landscape’s first evolving from simple background to central subject. This development coincides with the diffusion of exotica and carpets coming from colonies and trading posts in a newly discovered world.

All found images are photographed instead of scanned. The photographing as well as the coloring appropriates and changes the original images, it points out the reproduction process as well as it shows an otherwise invisible space beyond the image.