September 7 - November 4, 2012
FORUM 028: Anke Heelemann – Rearrangement

For her long-term project FOTOTHEK, Anke Heelemann collects long-forgotten private photographs which she then exhibits at changing locations. A wide-ranging archive of unascribed private photographs, slides and photo albums – extending from the 1920s through the ‘80s – forms the main body of, and source of inspiration for, the collection. FOTOTHEK has its spiritual home at a store in Weimar that boasts an archive of some 100,000 photos. Beyond arranging special events and offering various services (loans, sponsorships and picture messages), the shop serves as the forum for numerous initiatives and happenings in which the artist persuades her audience to interact and perform.

For her gallery exhibit in Munich, Anke Heelemann has created an installation with 600 identical "Post-It"-type pads that are based on a single private album. Visitors play a key role in the evolution of the installation: they are invited to tear off individual photos and take them away – thus creating a living relief. The overall appearance of the exhibition therefore changes with new constellations of pictures emerging throughout the installation, enabling fresh “readings” of the pictorial whole. This central installation is accompanied by a small display featuring slides and a booklet depicting the FOTOTHEK project as a whole.

An understanding of the value of these "waste pictures" is central to Anke Heelemann's work. By experimenting with different ways of presenting the ostensibly trivial photographs, she searches for ways of appreciating them and, in doing so, restores them to the present. By constantly rearranging the archive, she challenges visitors to question the construct of identity in photography, prompting them to contemplate our personal and collective memories.

Anke Heelemann (*1979) studied at the Academy of Visual Arts in Leipzig and the Bauhaus University in Weimar. She was awarded a grant by the Thuringia Arts Foundation and a postgraduate scholarship from Bauhaus University and the German federal state of Thuringia. She has been running the long-term project FOTOTHEK Fachgeschäft für vergessene Privatfotografien (www.vergessene-fotos.de) since 2006. She lives and works in Weimar.