Heinz Peter Knes

( Text )
Tell It To My Heart

Excerpts from the first of two volumes attending an exhibition about Julie Aults art collection.
published by www.hatjecantz.de

„The Collection is not certain“ says Julie Ault in the preface of the exhibition catalogue vol 1.
I guess that describes pretty much my entering in this project. Many of the artists or artworks in the collection were new to me. Also did I then come from a photographic practice that had little to do with the representation of artworks. But I entered an open scene in the sense that it was not clear what kind of images do we wanna have. It was a jump into the unknown and that’s what I personaly like best about photography, when things are not certain and photographic images become a document of an experience. I like to call it affective photography, because it’s not neutral, it is instinctive, it’s lacking knowledge, the view is guided by subjective interests leading to subjective interpretation. It is a photography that is not necessarily coherent with an official text.

When I started the photographs we didn’t have an official text, cause we basically started with the photos. Or we started undigging the works, unpacked them, we were looking at them, a sort of inventory, a check what is there and the photography was part of this process. This is what the photographs show: artworks awakening from there beauty sleep.

We see where this artworks have been stored. In drawers, closets, behind furniture, under the bed and under the sofa. Some of the artworks don’t translate in accuracy. Some remain in storage boxes or wrapped up and that’s okay too. Other artworks were installed. Ephemera came into the picture that surrounded the artworks. Books. A private living situation came into the picture. A context. One that doesn’t match with the usual collector representation. Is this okay? How much privacy can we show? We see laundry, we see beauty products, we see a used bed, we see cooking, we see James Benning working, we see tracks of a Christmas party. The juxtaposition of things were not necessarily curatorial. They had often more to do with chance and practicality.

A storytelling started with each piece unpacked and looked at. Knowledge started to be shared about the artworks, the artists, constellations, relations: a history. It got clear that each piece had a reason to be there.

Close up’s. Fragments. A living situation had to be transformed into a photographic narrative. Make the artworks speak!

The first photos were taken in July 2011 in the New York apartment. This was right after Nikola and Scott confirmed the exhibition is going to happen in the Gegenwartsmuseum in Basel. In January 2012 I photographed in the house in Joshua Tree. In April 2012 again in New York and in September 2012 one more time in the New York apartment.

So there was a time period of more than one year between the first and the last photographic encounter. This was the time of getting to know, gaining knowledge, looking at things again, trying to become an expert.

Also Danh Vo and Martin Beck took photographs that are in the book.

The selection and sequencing of the images was a shared thing of the curatorial team together with the graphic designer Prem Krishnamurthy.

The book came out with the exhibition opening in Basel in February 2013.

(2021)