Jaro Straub

Jaro Straub

“From A to B and back to C”

 

 

Reverse Side 1963-2003, Photo Series 2006

Reverse Side 1963-2003, Photo Series 2006

"Gestorben", From The Slide Series  'Gebrauchsgrafik' 2003

"Gestorben", From The Slide Series 'Gebrauchsgrafik' 2003

Turm (ohne Geisterfänger), Studio View 2006

Turm (ohne Geisterfänger), Studio View 2006

“From A to B and back to C”, the title of Jaro Straub’s first solo exhibition with JET, describes a paradoxical trajectory with echoes of the philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and back again). Straub posits the way back as a step forward, abandoning a linear progression from A to B in favour of a threeway in which original and reproduction are triangulated in a flipping of roles.

 

The central work of the exhibition is “Reverse Side 1963-2003” (2006), a photographic series based on images shot by the artist’s father in 1963, most of which were taken around the Los Angeles area. Shadowing the alchemic processes of the darkroom, Straub developed these source photographs anew by rendering each motif as a drawing in Indian ink. During this process some of the drawings darkened to such an extent that the underlying images barely registered, hovering instead beneath the surface like faint memories. Having produced these works on paper in California in 2003, Straub then rephotographed each image, in so doing repossessing the drawings of an earlier cycle of work as a subject for photography—the medium of their point of departure.

 

In conjunction with Straub’s investigation of the private archive, a series of slides displays motifs from “Gebrauchsgrafik” (Applied Graphics) a magazine that the artist found in the library of the Art Center of Pasadena in California. The selection of photographs took place while the artist spontaneously flipped through the pages of the magazine. These 80 reproductions present a visual treasure that gives insight both into the artist’s personal affinities, and the images that made an impression on the visual memory of many of his contemporaries. Condensed into the space of a slide carrousel, each section has a unique character that is determined by the significant difference in periods of the collected volumes of the magazine (1929-1939 = blue cover, 1962-1970 = red cover).

 

The third element of the exhibition is a towering sculpture reaching into the ceiling that—in a 1:2 ratio—replicates the form and colours of a work produced in 1979 by Erich Wiesner. Here Straub folds the notion of the original into that of its duplicate in a physical sense, the three dimensional nature of the piece adding a tactile register to his engagement with this relationship elsewhere in the exhibition. Along with the Zeitgeist of the 70s, Wiesner’s original owes a sculptural debt to Russian Constructivism and was realised as a public sculpture for the roof of the Institute for Foodstuffs, Drugs and Animal Diseases opposite today’s Hauptbahnhof. Straub’s translation of this sculpture into the present scale and context highlights such formal references and raises the prospect of further associations.

 

The invitation card for the exhibition carries a photograph by Roland Horn taken during the construction of the Hauptbahnhof showing Wiesner’s roof sculpture in the background.

 

 

 

Exhibition views Jaro Straub