(Canada + Germany)
In her photography and video works Bettina Hoffmann explores the tension between movement and immobility to create a narrative mood imbued with suspense. The narration is often minimalist and strangely still, thus creating a state of expectancy and anticipation. In her two recent videos, Décalage (2007) and Momentum (2006), despite the camera’s consistently revolving motion, actors’ bodies appear frozen in ambiguous social situations.
Born in Berlin, Germany, in 1964
Lives and works in Montréal, Canada
Bettina Hoffmann’s installations, videos and photography feature ambiguous narratives, suspended moments and unresolved articulations of social exchange.The seemingly intimate contexts that are featured in her images are rendered disarming and hauntingly uncomfortable by the obscurity of their meaning. With the photomontages in Affaires infinies (1997), the figure of the artist is depicted as multiple characters in interaction. This could be interpreted as a reflection on the complexity of identity, but the meaning is left vividly undefined.The overtones of ambiguity in Hoffmann’s work create a tension that destabilizes the stance of the viewer and creates a cycle of narrative speculation. Normative social relations are effectively called into question. As in Maître et Chien (2001) and La Soirée (2002), the viewer is confronted with a visual manipulation of human dynamics that exposes the absurdity and fragility of culturally regulated behaviour. And as in Sweets (2004), one questions the reason for the unusually serious and perverse depictions of children. The photos are interpretative conundrums that portray liminal moments when nothing seems to be happening yet anything could. Décalage (2007), like La Ronde (2005), elaborates on this narrative tension and suspense by adopting a voyeuristic vantage point. There is the impression that the camera illicitly implicates the viewer in an intimate moment shared by the subjects. The rotary movement serves as a metaphor for the social spin we are timelessly locked in by force of habit and expectation.
DAZIBAO, CENTRE DE PHOTOGRAPHIES ACTUELLES
4001 BERRI, ESPACE 202
[SEPT. 06 – OCT. 06, 2007]
OPENING AND LAUNCH OF ISSUE 15 OF PREFIX PHOTO MAGAZINE SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 08, 2007 AT 7 PM
TUESDAY TO SATURDAY FROM 12 PM TO 5 PM