Reiner Riedler “Sweat”
Photographic imprints of perspiration Blurred images of faces and bodies emerge from behind a dark veil. The faces, most of which feature closed eyes, exude an unusual tranquility and intensity. These are not commonplace photographic portraits, but rather imprints of people that resulted from a condition of heat, of state of renewal. Instead of light that is reflected by an object, human sweat serves as a catalyst of a chemical depiction process that renders visible traces of faces and bodies on cotton fabric. These are neither photographs in the actual sense, nor photograms—the secret lies somewhere in the middle: there is a physical contact between those represented and their representations—the ‘object’ itself is producing the substance that is required for the image— a process of abrasion.
Perspiring persons are covered with specially treated cotton cloths. Through physical contact with sweat these cloths change their color, and in the completed picture these are rendered in nuanced gray-scale values—comparable with a black and white photograph, yet in fact comprising an imprint in black and white. The material of the negative consists of opaque cotton. The exhibited positive image is a modern pigment print.
The similarity to the represented person is not always recognizable—the images appear alien and archaic, or also roughly formed, like shadows of the depicted people, as if a transformation had taken place and the interior of those portrayed had been turned inside out. Analogous to the grain of negative film, the structure of the cotton material is sometimes more, sometimes less distinctly visible. Scientists at the Fraunhofer Research Institution for Modular Solid State Technologies EMFT in Munich are conducting research on perspiration. For this photographic work, they produced a special sensor colorant, which is able to make sweat permanently visible.
At the time of the most beautiful holidays of the year, KAUNAS PHOTO festival presents a gift, another open air exhibition. The exhibition “Sweat” by the Austrian artist Reiner Riedler, is exhibited from 22 December 2015, next to the shopping center “SAVAS” (Kovo 11-osios str. in Kaunas). Most of the works were created during the festival opening week final event – “Sweat-Off Photo Night”. These photographs will warm up hearts of visitors with unusual concept and technical decisions. Partnering the exhibition are country tourism seat „Šaltupis“ and advertising company „Gijota“. Exhibition will be on display until 1st of March, 2016.
Mindaugas Kavaliauskas, director of KAUNAS PHOTO festival pointed out, that “Sweat” works by Reiner is not just alternative creation process of image by old technique from the century of Renaissance. This is allusion to sheet of Turin and effort to raise a question about criterion of human beauty and return to pre-historical esthetics of human beauty. It is gratifying, that such an important and busy artist, just after lecturing in Switzerland, spent his weekend in Lithuania and the final event of the festival, creating a new set of “Sweat” works at “Šaltupis”.
Reiner Riedler is sharing video about his performance in “Šaltupis”.
Reiner Riedler born in Gmunden, Austria. He went to Vienna with the intention of studying ethnology. He then attended a College for photography in Vienna and decided to dedicate himself solely to photography. Studies of Image Sciences at the Danube University of Krems. As a documentary photographer he deals with important topics of the present day. His view always centers on human beings and their environment. The main focus of his documentary work is to challenge our value systems. As a traveller he visits the periphery of our habitats, always searching for the fragile beauty of human existence with its desires and abysses. His recent conceptual works deal with the themes of transience, crises and death. Reiner Riedler’s work has been shown in numerous countries at photo festivals, galleries and museums. He has been working for periodicals and magazines. His pictures have been published in magazines such as National Geographic, Stern, The New York Times, Fortune, Le Monde, Der Spiegel etc.