In his conceptual photographs and installation works, Ulrich Gebert addresses the culturally shaped relationship of man to nature and his environment. His installations, as well as the photographs arranged in series and wall tableaus, are not to be conceived as a romantic motif of reunion between man and nature – rather, they testify to a critical and humorous examination.
Gebert’s works revolve around concepts such as order, categorisation, hierarchy, functionalisation, and instrumentalisation, exposing the gestures of violent appropriation and control inherent in the techniques of order and cultivation.
In his most recent body of work, Eigenface, Ulrich Gebert explores a fairly new visual phenomenon that can certainly be viewed critically: facial recognition.
Originally used to be reserved for the privilege of intelligence service practices, facial recognition systems are increasingly determining our private/public as well as digital/analog spheres due to the ubiquitous spread of digital devices.
Eigenface – Ullrich Gebert’s new solo show at Klemm’s, presented on the occasion of the European Month of Photography – analyses the development matrix of the photographic portrait from image to medium of inventory and archiving. Gebert makes critical use of its aesthetic patterns, operating on several levels to dissolve the limitations of binary attributions: the distinction between human and non-human, the analog and the digital, the factual and the fictional, the made and the found.
The significance of the photographically portrayed face is no longer aimed as a representative, formally closed portrait practice: it is only in the linkage between portraits with other images and information that they acquire their cognitive value.