Critics’ Picks

Sophie Thun, While holding (passage closed) (Y110,8M17,4D+59F8m18,142CA3T69,2b100l240), 2018, analogue color photography, photogram, metal and magnets, approx. 138 x 197”.


Sophie Thun

Sophie Tappeiner
An der Hülben 3
March 21–May 5, 2018

As one approaches the gallery, it is not immediately clear that the life-size analog color photograph Rain on pane (all works cited, 2018) is not actually Sophie Thun. She stands, so it appears, behind the closed door, holding a remote shutter release while perhaps taking stock of passersby in the historic city center. Her surroundings duplicate what is behind the photographic paper: the gallery space. The construction and representation of the female self is as much a theme in Thun’s work as the illusionistic methods of mimesis in mise en abyme and trompe l'oeil, or the technological preconditions of the photographic image in general. Rather than being distinct areas of photographic interest, Thun playfully suggests, these things are all intertwined.

Inside, the artist persists with the deliberate confusion of original and copy, reality and fiction, and their accompanying discourses. While holding (passage closed) (Y110,8M17,4D+59F8m18,142CA3T69,2b100l240) is another self-portrait, composed of six large-format sheets of photographic paper. Thun fills the space with them. The work extends to the ceiling and elegantly unfurls onto the floor. In the image: a photogram of Sophie Thun’s silhouette as she releases the shutter; Sophie Thun as a photographic reproduction who holds her own photo with the empty space of yet another photogram of herself in her hands; simply Sophie Thun, a young artist.

“Double Release” falls far short of capturing the visual intricacy and conceptual multivalence of the show. “Multiple Release” would be more fitting.

Translated from German by Diana Reese.