Kerstin Flake


Was 2018 a good or a bad year for you? Or perhaps a balance somewhere between the two? Kerstin Flake’s annual edition gets to the heart of this ambiguity with Good Year / Bad Year.

Curator Julia Schäfer on Kerstin Flake’s series Good Year / Bad Year, November 2018  (excerpt):

When you travel to the US, you notice that many of the places there have seen better days.
Conditions are bleak; behind the façade, everything is falling apart. Kerstin Flake’s series Good Year / Bad Year was created in Columbus und Detroit, cities in the area known as the “Rust Belt”. Vacancy and shrinkage are a reality there. This links in with the recent history of Leipzig, a city where Flake has lived since 1997. Over the past fifteen years she has entered empty buildings there, factories and apartments replete with historical layers and stories. Using found materials Flake staged surreal scenes, so temporarily bringing to life these unoccupied halls and spaces. In the US, the artist shifted this process to the exterior. Here the street became the stage, the America prospectus!

Flake’s images exert a strong fascination due to their puzzling details: objects defy gravity, cupboards dance, boxes fly through the air, furniture breaks free! “This can’t be happening! How is this possible?” So the images capture our gaze– we look two, three times. Although they might at first glance look like snapshots, the pictures are carefully planned and meticulously constructed. They are de facto three-dimensional stages on which the scenes are performed for just a few seconds of exposure. Thus the artist is the stage director, producing a moment of surprise. And while the objects in the picture might seem totally unspectacular, closely associated with poverty, there is nonetheless something poetic about them. They do not portray an America on its last legs. Rather, they reflect a state of affairs without lamenting it.

The way in which objects and movements come together in the image offsets depression.  Good Year / Bad Year! – helps keep the balance. Vacancy, wasteland, deserted tracts, depression, but also optimism, movement, life. Carrying on. Yes, even a challenge. Lightness on a heavy stage. The photos visualise the impossible. They call on us to do the same, to get moving – like the objects in the picture. And this doesn’t just mean Columbus or Leipzig, it can be applied to anywhere and everywhere in the world.

> More about Kerstin Flake  

Kunsthaus Graz Annual Edition from the series KERSTIN FLAKE, GOOD YEAR / BAD YEAR, 2018

Material/Technique: Fine Art Print, 2018, 40 cm x 28 cm 
Number of copies: 18
Price: 180 euros

Available from the Kunsthaus-Graz-Shop

Fine art print, 2018, 40cm x 28cm, Edition: 18, Foto: K. Flake

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