Berlin

Viktoria Binschtok, World of Details (balance + white woman), 2011, framed color photo- graph 27 x 22 1/2“; ink-jet print on MDF plate, 7 x 10 1/4”.

Viktoria Binschtok, World of Details (balance + white woman), 2011, framed color photo- graph 27 x 22 1/2“; ink-jet print on MDF plate, 7 x 10 1/4”.

Viktoria Binschtok

Klemm's

Viktoria Binschtok, World of Details (balance + white woman), 2011, framed color photo- graph 27 x 22 1/2“; ink-jet print on MDF plate, 7 x 10 1/4”.

With the advent of Street View, Google introduced a new logic––if not a new language––to photography. Artists swiftly responded by using this massive image map as a site for appropriation as well as an inspiration for artistic forms and functions. “World of Details,” Viktoria Binschtok’s contribution to this fruitful dialogue, fluidly incorporates the merits of the new technology and supplements a parallel constellation of images of the artist’s own creation. The Russian-born, Berlin-based artist’s appropriated images derive from 2009, two years into Street View’s history, and depict people on the streets of New York. Following the technology’s algorithm, the faces of those individuals who turned toward the car-mounted Street View camera when the image was taken appear blurred. There is considerable resonance in the fact that in this moment when one can survey large portions of the world from an online distance, the faces of those returning our virtual gaze are obscured. Binschtok, however, transgressed the divide between the real and the virtual by visiting and rephotographing these scenes. This parallel may not be evident at a first glance because in the process slippages occurred, as if formalizing the translation from Street View’s language to the artist’s personal photographic language. Time has passed, the individuals originally depicted are no longer present, and the objects setting the scene have moved. And, formally, Binschtok’s photographic statements differ markedly from those that informed them.

Each work in this exhibition consists of one small black-and-white ink-jet print and one or two larger color photographs. The images comprising the groupings interact in various ways––both spatially as well as in terms of their interior logic––so it is not always immediately clear how groups are constituted. Hanging above eye level on one wall was a photograph by the artist, which depicts the second story of a building, and hanging at eye level beside it, a Street View screen grab depicting two people standing outside a car garage. The garage is located on the ground floor of a taller building. It takes a moment to realize that the buildings are one and the same, and the vertical displacement of the two images in the gallery space conjures the space represented in the depictions, titled World of Details (garage + garage) (all works 2011).

Binschtok clearly attends to the way in which continuity can either register or be suspended in other works as well, as in World of Details (billiard table + billiard). Whereas her photograph pictures a billiard table, one must solve a semiotic puzzle in order to conclude that the accompanying Street View shows the pool hall’s outside, since only the bottom half of the letters IARDS can be seen on the awning. In World of Details (trash #1 + #2 + teens), the inclusion in the background of a brick wall layered over with large splotches of paint allows viewers to make the connection between the disparate photos. In the case of this work, the artist takes a step further by adding a second photograph, which depicts a space outside of the field of the Street View, but contains elements similar to the intermediate image of trash cans, a rusty door, a painted-brown brick wall. Elaborating on the exhibition’s overall logic, this work presents statements in separate photographic languages and also depicts the concrete reality surrounding one of those statements, thus generating intrigue through the inconsistencies resulting from translation as well as through the possibility of alternate interpretations.

––John Beeson