Katja Bilo and Oliver Möst: Surrogate REVIEW

Text by Rachel Simkover and pictures by Oliver Möst

What is immediately striking about the show, Surrogate at Galerie Axel Obiger is the tension between the two bodies of work presented. Granted both artists are concerned with exploring photography’s potential as a medium (and photography’s relationship to painting), but their investigations take fundamentally different approaches.

Both the subject matter and method of Oliver Möst’s photographs bring history into the present. Inspired by paintings of saints, these photographs are portraits of patrons for different professions. Möst uses the camera obscura, a technique used by historical painters to achieve accuracy, to create these images and make them more obscure. And no, these photographs are not out of focus; they represent how the artist sees the world without his glasses.

In response to the question “why cats and flowers?” Katja Bilo responded that since both are so overworked in art, she likes to keep pushing them further and overdoing them to the point of it being grotesque. For example, taxidermy pet cats represent an attempt to hold on to the past, and they have been immortalized once more by being photographed. Bilo uses these familiar motifs to raise complex questions about the passing of time and mortality.

The show is up until 3.12.11 and there will be a chance to talk with the artists on the 2nd of December at 7:30pm.

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