Two chairs, one view
by Freddy Langer
rough translation from the original German
The lockdown in New York in April last year did not mean that everyone had to lock themselves up in their own room. Because if you had good reason, you could go outside as long as you wore a mask and kept your distance – even to neighbors and friends, namely eight feet or six feet, which explains the title of this book: “6’ apart in New York City “.
The German artist Renate Aller, who lives in New York, made these rules the basis of a series of pictures: two people at a distance. She preceded the photographic recordings with a quote from Rainer Maria Rilke “… that each should stand guard over the solitude of the other”.It becomes the guideline of the work. It is more likely that you think you are leafing through the documentation of performances. The setting is always the same, with two chairs in front of a front door. Plus, Renate Aller herself, in boots, a dress and a long coat, everything raven black, the face mostly hidden behind a blue cloth, plus a friend. Yes, yes, you think, that’s New York. Even the most dramatic intrusion in life leads to creative outbreaks there. Especially since surprising things happen again and again within the narrow backdrop, when some stylize themselves as a sculpture, others pose cheekily, and every now and then even music is performed so happily, that Renate Aller can no longer stay in the chair and starts to dance.
And then there are pictures in which two people are simply chatting with each other. Simply? Well, without the possibility of facial expressions, but each with their own gaze. Nice neighbors among themselves.
Wow, one thinks, is Soho still that – a village in the middle of a big city?
“side walk 6’ apart in NYC“ by Renate Aller. Texts by Marylin S. Kushner and Lara Pan. Kehrer Verlag, Heidelberg 2021. 144 pages, 36 color photographs. Hard cover, $ 40.-
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