Although the legacy of Surrealism is everywhere traceable in the collages, photography and sculptures of Raphael Danke, he wittily re-envisages that legacy in the context of the society of the spectacle. The romanticised or sadistically envisaged muse that haunted the most famous works of the Surrealist movement is displaced in Danke's enquiries. For example, the digital print Out of Body (2005) revisits Man Ray's Kiki with African mask (1926), this time with the artist's face appearing as the dreaming Western visage. Elsewhere Danke again poses the possibility of a switch in male/female subject positions with the man-sized black stilettos that form part of the sculpture Ansicht 1:1 (la différance) (2006). In a series of collages created by the artist from the pages of fashion magazines, the fashion industry is positioned as a mechanism for distorting and disembodying effects: the model's attire is referenced in the title of the work, but her face and figure are absent from the resultant collage, or only her bizarrely over-coiffed hair remains ' crimped, curled, flat-ironed or blowing in an artificial breeze. Similarly, the twisted pairs of mannequin legs clad in stripy tights that fill his Bellmer Box (2005), also address the superficiality of consumer culture, rather than detailing a private obsession. The recent series of doors Danke has made, with titles like In Absentia (2006) and La suture (2006) are akin to the doors found in theatrical sets or window displays ' Danke reveals their supporting struts, once more recasting a Surrealist motif. These doors are objects of display too, and not a pathway to the unconscious mind.
Courtesy of Galerie Sandra Buergel, Berlin. Supported by the Goethe Institute.