“Copygraphs” is the name Andrea Esswein has chosen for her works of art she has been producing with the help of photocopiers since 1998. With the photocopier serving as her photographic gadget she first fabricates the original copies. To this end objects, animals and people are put on the copier by her. Esswein then creates a new picture by making a collage out of the separately photocopied pieces as she is putting them together along a rectangular line like the pieces of a puzzle. The interfaces and overlaps between the individual pieces still remain visible after the ensuing work process. In doing so the artist’s interest focuses on the construction of a new reality far-off from our usual viewing habits.
The stark contrasts produced by the copying process and the following manufacturing techniques make Esswein’s objects emerge from beneath a layer of gloss paint and synthetic resin like from a three-dimensional darkness and sanctity in a rather spherical way. It seems as if the depicted objects were withdrawn from the viewer’s attention and positioned at an imaginary distance hovering there.
The convincing pictures tell their story with an exaggerated expression and passionate gesture. Intense colours or, on the other hand, strong chiaroscuro effects intensify their emotional impact upon the viewer. This way a new series of black-and-white copygraphies at the same time interprets the dramatic art of composition of the Spanish naturalist Jusepe de Ribera (1591-1652) as much as it demonstrates the vividness of Andrea Esswein’s own expertise with which she is mastering the field of the copygraphic medium.
Translation: Gisela Stamer