On The Promises Of Things
The objects in Still Life With Two Pink (2014) are in an intimate alternation with each other. Gestures of touch are created through playfully combining items that would eventually result in a composition. At first glance, the arrangements made in Halina Kliem’s group of works, titled Still Life, seem to be formally connected to still life painting, but in her case, the two-dimensional image is always linked to their three-dimensional origins. The point of departure is a combination of objects – almost like sculptural studies in space. They consist of everyday things, such as glasses, cans and cups, and of coloured USB cables that would loop around the objects (Still Life With Blue Charger, 2015) or imitate drawings in the image space (Still Life With Copper Coffee Cup, 2015). Within each piece of work the objects function as reference points, which dwell on the ‘promises’ inherent to these objects (for instance the cleaning effect of the dust cloth or the cable as electricity distributor).
Kliem’s reservoir amount to objects that are always of equal value and are therefore useful for multiple combinations. This “performative“ act of combination – which is not visible for the viewer – results in a wall piece. The materiality of the sculptural is thus transformed into two-dimensional photographs, transporting their information onto the surface. Nevertheless, materials and haptic textures are still perceptible.
Kliem choses bamboo-based paper for the high-resolution prints. In Far Eastern culture bamboo stands for lightness, purity, and malleability – these are all attributes that create an analogy between image carrier and image content. Especially when noticing the grainy paper and its visible fibres, which again refer to the soft and shape-retaining structures of the cloth. Even though the aesthetic of the Still Life arrangements are reminiscent of hyper realistic depiction modes known from product- and commercial photography, Kliem does not intend to illustrate an overly sharpened reality. Instead her photographs are like ironic comments on their own function as being solely representations. Within the exhibition setting, the physical space would eventually be linked back to the image space. Instead of static frames, Kliem uses box-like constructions for the presentation, resulting in the two-dimensional becoming a three-dimensional body again. These processes of translation in between formats lead to different “postures” – such as transforming sculpture into photography and back again in being a three-dimensional object – and in the end, resulting in an autonomous form displayed in the exhibition space.
Melissa Canbaz, 2015