Sarah Straßmann (*1980) is a visual artist with a main focus on photography and new media. Within that fields, her works have almost two very contrasting approaches to the medium of photography. On the one hand her fineart photographs deal with the ideas of classical 6×6 medium format analogue color photography, that move the poles of staged space settings, still life photography and the visualization of absence. On the other hand she develops artistic research projects in the discourse of „post-internet art.“
Since 2010 Sarah Straßmann is a Ph.D. candidate in fine arts at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar/ GER. Before she was studying for a Master of Art under Prof. Emanuel Raab and Prof. Dr. Anna Zika, after studying for a diploma in photography and media at the University of Applied Sciences Bielefeld/ GER.
Sarah Straßmanns work has been shown internationally, e.g at the House of Photography – Deichtorhallen Hamburg/ GER, at Art Foyer DZ Bank Art Collection Frankfurt Main/ GER, at the Goethe Institute Washington DC/ US, at the Fotomuseum Winterthur/ CH, the Neues Museum Weimar/ GER, the Museum of Applied Art Cologne/ GER, KW – Institute for contemporary Art Berlin/ GER, Münster City Museum/ GER, West Wendischer Kunstverein/ GER, at f/Stop Festival in Leipzig/ GER and at the European Media Art Festival EMAF Osnabrück/ GER. With her work “The Void”, she was a winner in the competition “good prospects – Young German Photography 2008/09.
Sarah Straßmann lives and works in Berlin since 2012.
Series: Opposite (since 2009) and The Chase (2015)
In most of her large-format photographs, Sarah Straßmann investigates the visual expression of emptiness. The material nature of physical space retreats completely into the background. Instead, space is designated mainly by qualities of lightning and mood which invoke personal recollections of the photographer. In this way, a space for thought is created which is vivid as an image and points the way beyond the visible and into the realms of the imagination.
Series: Expanded Pictures
A four-part research project, photographs / interactive installation / video loop / performance, dimensions variable
About photography as action structure in the context of internet and social media.
Which relevance can photography emerge today, if you can upload a picture with just one mobile-click to the internet and make it visible? The four-part work “Expanded Pictures” is dedicated to a scientific artistic research project. The thesis: within the practice of taking mobile photographic images we establish a new role of photography. The function develops away from photography as an image and towards the photographic act as a performative one, based on visual and social stereotypes.
An important part of the western dominated contemporary culture is our persona and existence in the virtual world. As in reality, there are rules of conduct for presentation and staging. Currently, one can speak about a stereotypical visual presentation on the internet. But what actually are visual stereotypes? And what effect do they have on the society?
The work “Expanded Pictures” focuses on the “selfie” as a profile picture on facebook. The “selfie” is our contemporary medium for self-dramatization. It questions the importance and the relevance of the photographic image in social media networks. The photo itself has lost its documentary character, and has found its new meaning through the act of uploading it to the internet. These numerous, via mobile phone, generated self-portraits have no meaning per se, but a “performative” value. The “selfies” convey no pleasure in photographic aesthetic language, but they show one thing: “I’m here and I’m taking pictures”. In this logic the selfies are a “void” in the field of contemporary photography. Within the work an archive of “selfies” is created. This archive is the core of the artistic research, through which performative and interactive experiments are processed.