Claudia Rogge’s monumental photography demonstrates a quantum leap within the realm of cultural history. She approaches on the one hand from a standpoint rooted in Old Europe and represented by the masters of the Renaissance period and translates this into the digital age of modern Europe. Simultaneously she is investigating the central theme of social orders throughout human history by looking at the alternating relationships between masses and individuals.
Claudia Rogge works with individuals in order to choreograph large format images depicting the masses from a multitude of individuals. The international art scene from Paris to Moscow, Toronto to Beijing is paying attention to the artist, who maintains one studio in her home town Düsseldorf and another in Provence.
Claudia Rogge’s working method is similar to that of a surrealist film director paying lip service to painterly traditions in order to fix them photographically – in the filmic style of an invented film. Each individual image that forms part of a differentiated and monumental series contains within it a frozen moment, which can be thought of by the observer as a moment in a film. The balance between unemotional and theatrical choreography and aesthetic emotionality, between pathos and inner reflection makes her works so fascinating.
The works now exhibited in Istanbul show a cross-section of her series. One of those is Rapport 150305 (2005) from the same-titled series Rapport (2005) which is focused on the relationship between ornament and the masses, - the anonymous individual is confirmed torepresent a theme and pattern. The photographer does an outstanding job of calling the nature of anonymity into question while also destabilizing the distinction between man and mass, something which becomes extremely striking in later series: The individual human being emerges from the incorporeality of his or her own ornamentation.
Galerie Artist also presents works from the series Dividium (2007), like Multitude III and Orbitale I. Theatrical interactions are strengthened, along with ideas of role play and a tendency towards masking. Although many aspects, including gesture, call to mind the ornamental structuring ofprevious series, these works constitute obvious shifts away from the systemwhen considered as a whole. The masks that Claudia Rogge emphasizes in thisseries play freely with the phenomenon of de-individualisation – that is to say, the position of the individual unfurling within an ensemble and becoming in this very way (inter)divisible. The ego is many things (and additionally, as is generally known, is another) and as such it cannot claim to be the smallest unit.
Going into the year 2011 one can see in EverAfter the artist’s further development into the realm of theatricality. In the tradition of living pictures, which were in great demand in the 18th and early 19th centuries, Claudia Rogge allows herself to be inspired by scenes from literature. For her largest series up to thispoint with its Dantesque mise-en-scene, Rogge nevertheless required a device to rival many a film studio. For the approximately 40.000 individual images, aunique form of choreography or storyboard was required, alongside other specific requirements and numerous collaborators to process the image.
Inspired by Baroque ceiling frescos and vanitas paintings, Claudia Rogge created the series “Lost in Paradise” in 2012, once more pulling out all the stops, drawing upon existing elements in her previous series and developing these further: the dualism of mass versus individual that arises from the process of creating the cloned image; the theatrical mission; nudity; as well as the film-like orchestration.
The pictorial moment in Claudia Rogge’s work culminates first and foremost in her modern triptychs Per se of 2013, particularly in how freshly she reflects the idea of the portrait and the nude.
Claudia Rogge knows the periods of art history from which she draws her creations. So we can confidently understand the triptychs with the descriptive title “Elements and Structures” as parts of a wholewhose components stand in relation to one another. The triadic structure fits in deliberately with the work of Claudia Rogge, which built upon itself series by series and now strives towards a certain veracity.
Dr. Günter Baumann