Annette Kelm, "Caps," photograph, 2008.
September 7 to October 14, 2012
Presentation House, North Vancouver
By Janet Nicol
The photographs of German artist Annette Kelm are complex meditations on the nature of photography and image making. “Vancouver has a long track record of photo-conceptualism,” curator Reid Shier says, listing Jeff Wall, Ian Wallace and Stan Douglas, as examples. Kelm is considered an important young photographer on the international scene, and her first exhibition in Canada features 40 colour photographs. Her subjects are landscape, portraiture and still life. “She has an uncanny clarity,” Shier says. “Her photographs are evocative.” Kelm works traditionally — her colour photographs are taken with an analog medium- and large-format camera, and are individually handmade in a darkroom. She produces both single images and serial works, often using a detailed studio-shot format reminiscent of advertising photography. Her subtle, deadpan images become increasingly mysterious through examination. They initially appear as objective documents, yet the factual and temporal confusions of her pictures reinforce the uncertainties of perception. One critic says of her work, “they are undercut with a strangeness that questions not only the purpose of the objects, but also the nature of their representation.”