Thanks to the positive resonance of ONE/ other presented earlier this year at the Independent New York and OTHER/ one featured at the Independent in Brussels, Delmes & Zander are merging the two exhibition concepts into one show featuring a selection of portraits and self-portraits simultaneously in both their Berlin and Cologne galleries. ONE / OTHER will show how the portrait as well as the self-portrait unabashedly mirrors the artist behind the work no matter if he portrays himself or whether he is portraying the other. Independently of their subject, the photographs and drawings reveal everything about their authors and their yearnings for a romanticised identity, no matter on which side of the camera or canvas. Evident in the works is a serialized, obsessive impulse to repeatedly pin down an image or identity that is manifestly idealized.
William Crawford portrays himself at the heart of his sexual fantasies: a graphic and detailed mise en scène in which Crawford is king. In his bright coloured paintings, Alexander Lobanov poses bravely, adorned by a Kalashnikov and Soviet symbolism – the image of a fearless man, a classical hero.
At times the portraits depict their authors as sufferers, preyed upon by the load of the world: Michail Paule is the threatened figure at the center of a phantasmagorical and uncanny place. Aurel Iselstöger's self-portraits illustrate him with a grotesque smile across his face, as if his mouth were torn but shut in silence, eyes to the ground. In the photo collages of Obsession, an unknown author who portrays women at the stake ready to burn or on their knees before decapitation, also pastes himself into the work both as the executioner as well as a victim.
Paul Humphrey repeatedly shuts the eyes of his subjects in the act of drawing, turning his Sleeping Beauties into docile women, innocent and powerless; Morton Bartlett shapes his dolls with his own hands, small in size and with childlike obedience, then photographs them as if for his his own private family album. The portraits of Margret, taken in the impenetrable complicity of a love affair set in the 1970s, transform her into an idealized creation of her lover and employer Günter K.. Similarly, Eugene von Bruenchenhein turns his wife Marie from exotic princess to tinseltown temptress in the photos shot in the intimacy of their hermetical domesticity.
In its painstaking rigour, the works often acquire an archival, sequential character. This is not only the case with Miroslav Tichy, who set out to photograph one hundred women a day, but also with Type 42, the encyclopedic body of anonymous work taken of female movie stars or even in Margarethe Held's lifework documented in The Uncontrollable Universe: an attempt to pin down the chaos unleashed by inner visions in a publication which brings together pictures bestowed upon her from the beyond.
In ONE / OTHER it becomes clear that the works are always an end in itself: a necessary endeavor to shape an image and to make it compatible with the artists innermost fantasies. The result is a many-layered exploration of self-reflection and an oftentimes surprising study on the means and mirrors that are chosen to make wishful thinking real, be it in the shape of one or the other.
Featuring works by Morton Bartlett, William Crawford, Margarethe Held, Paul Humphrey, Aurel Iselstöger, Alexander Lobanov, Margret, Obsession, Michail Paule, Miroslav Tichy, Type 42, Eugene von Bruenchenhein