Sthende, 2004, 300 x 240 cm
Interruption of the show from February 23th to March 5th
How realistic! When a viewer is first confronted with Anja Schrey’s colored pencil drawings, this kind of reaction is almost involuntary. In fact, the figure — a reproduction of herself, which the artist puts on paper in constantly changing outfits and poses — does seem uncannily alive, almost ‘real to the touch.’ Yet at the same time, these pictures, despite their immediacy, retain their distance. Notwithstanding their presence or the effect instigated by their hyper-realistic presence, they remain aloof. They almost seem to maintain a life of their own, one that remains oddly remote from the viewer, even upon closer observation. At first glance, everything seems easily explained.
Schrey is obviously the central focus of the series of drawings. Done with colored pencil on paper, this series shows ‘pictures of Anja Schrey.’ The artist is both motif — the result of pose, outfit, and the way they come together to shape the image itself — and producer, that is, the person who transforms the idea for the image to its finished result (whose dimensions, by the way, are very large). Certain fundamental principles underlie this situation: the tradition of realism (the ‘classic’ European concept of reproducing reality) is important for reception, and interpretive patterns, such as the category of ‘self-portrait,’ suggest themselves. Depending upon the viewer’s amount of foreknowledge, it is possible to recognize Schrey’s specific presence captured in the literally larger-than-life realism of the pictures. Mimesis. That’s it.
Regardless of this, however, these pictures pose a series of questions on another level. Moreover, they create very ambivalent meanings.
From Hans Jürgen Hafner text, Tableaux vivants, 2004