Förderpreis der Landeshauptstadt München 1990

Up until the first decades of our century, photography was valued as a lasting image of impermanent reality. Following the progress of technique and the dissemination of the medium, the individual’s desire for a pictorial documentation of his or her existence, as well as an all-encompassing flow of foto-information has led to a never before seen flood of images. Today our senses are dulled after being subjected to the constant onslaught of images. And the questionable claim to the truth of photographic pictures is long proven false by the possibility of computer alteration. During her study of “Visual Communication“, Silvia Kirchhof started to experiment with photographic techniques and began searching for a new method of expression. Mechanically treaded photo-chemicals and photo-linen became the image, without use of the camera or enlarger. In the Fifties, Pièrre Cordier was the first to use the so - called “chemigraphie“ for the production of colored pictures. Silvia Kirchhof combined this technique with other methods. During music and dance performances, she staged the artistic act of imprinting traces of gestures. The movements performed by the dancers were captured through the direct contact of their feet, which had been dipped in developer or in colored fixative, with photo-linen partially prepared with grease. (Illustration page 14 & 15 ) Her “Brush Pictures“ ( Illustration page 13 ) which were painted with a kind of giant brush during performance, were developed by using the same purely photo-chemical procedure. She continued her double-role as actor and instigator in later non-performance structured works. Photographs are again found in the works “Chester” (Ill- p. 9 ) and “Buddha” ( Ill. p.12 ) but only as a component of the multi-media interaction. “Chester“ is built up by three layers framing the motif. Silvia Kirchhof enlarged the portrait without eliminating the perforated strip of negative film. Around this inner picture frame, traces of “chemographic“ painting can be seen: layers of grease, scratches, superimpositions and imprints of the kitchen-sponge used to apply the chemicals. These areas are again sharply circumscribed by a frame of streched silk, which contrasts in material and color and upgrades the effect of the whole composition. In her recent works, ( Ill. p.4,5 & 11 ) Silvia Kirchhof also applies this demarcation of the shown sections of reality, illustrated through the principle of interlocking frames. Here her guiding theme, the recording of movements, is expressed by photographic instead of chemographic means. ( Ill. p. 7 ) In the “Newport Festival“, three frames are again interlocking. These photographs, framed in monochrome-blue, were taken during a documentary show on the Newport Jazz Festival. Thus, the media primarily responsible for the enormous dissemination of pictures is illustrated. Out of the anonymous flood of flickering images, showing 25 pictures per second, Silvia Kirchhof exhibits three concise stills. The images of these women represent the individual in an age in which not only images are submerged in the masses.( Ill. p. 4 )