new-york

Jaschi Klein

Marcuse Pfeifer Gallery

At first glance, Jaschi Klein’s photographs (all Untitled, 1986–87) seem more than a little bathetic. The figures pose in somewhat stilted dramas, which take place mostly in natural settings—other scenes are overtly theatrical, having been staged in an outdoor theater—that suggest a staged, forced expressivity, somewhere between intellectual soap opera and neo-Wagnerian case presentation in a psychiatric ward. The landscapes run to the wastelandish, making the figures—particularly those that are nude or semi-nude—look all the more vital by contrast. But then one begins to realize that these are not simply photographic souvenirs showing how Germans abandon themselves on holiday, but tests of the photograph’s narrative possibilities. Not that any narrative can be named; rather, Klein toys with the photograph’s narrative suggestiveness. She deliberately provokes our tendency to read a story

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