ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art, 09|17|2011 – 02|05|2012

Life Worlds and Image Worlds

The artists whose works are shown in this section react to the experience of the omnipresence of the mass media in the global world. By assimilating the boundary-transgressing visual consumption of popular culture into their repertoire of motifs, they allude, for example, to various film cultures such as Hollywood, Nollywood, and Bollywood, each of which speaks to their respective local audiences while at the same time drawing on a changing repertoire of clichés that circulate globally. This results in collective image worlds; these cross borders and connect different life worlds to one another – often simply by altering the ethnic types or local narrations. It is just this ongoing process of rewriting the same images which is addressed by those artists represented in this section. Anna Jermolaewa’s photographs from her Kremlin Doppelgänger series (2008–2009) show that even the real world of places is fictionalized, as demonstrated by a replica of the Kremlin built as a vacation spot in Turkey that can be photographed as such although it is not the Kremlin. On closer inspection, uniforms and national symbols and even stock market news all turn out to be visual languages. So every slight shift in a given context shows just how blurred the border is that runs between image worlds and so-called life worlds. To paraphrase Édouard Glissant, the imagination transforms real worlds into “imaginaries,” that is, into worlds of collective ideas.