Albrecht Fuchs: Mireille Mosler Ltd

Article excerpt

Albrecht Fuchs often works as a commercial (editorial) photographer, a capacity in which he is valued for his deadpan but meticulously lit and tightly composed images. In "Portraits," Fuchs, who is based in Cologne, presented thirty-seven color photographs shot between 1995 and 2007. The exhibition coincided with the release of his eponymous monograph, but while the book contains a selection of figures, mostly recognizable (Iggy Pop), though at times less so (industrial designer Dieter Rams), the exhibition included only portraits of contemporary artists--and of those, only the most established (Luc Tuymans, Raymond Pettibon, Jonathan Meese) rather than either of the equally compelling images of younger artists Annette Kelm and Bethany Izard that made it into print.

In the wake of artists such as Martin Kippenberger, who relied more on his persona than his hands to craft meaning in his painting (an impulse often associated with the Cologne scene of the '80s and '90s), it is difficult to look at any exhibition of artists' portraits as a run-of-the-mill display, rather than as a reflexive interrogation of the notion of the artist as performer. But in spite of the fact that the show featured several portraits of Kippenberger himself, and that the remaining shots also depicted "known" artists, when actually viewing the photographs such issues felt outside the frame or just beside the point. Fuchs's work is straightforward studio photography and follows the genre's historical project of capturing likeness; there is no discernible irony on display.

In response to Joseph Beuys's dictum "Every person is an artist," Kippenberger is said to have remarked, "Yes, but every artist is also a person," and it is perhaps in this spirit that "Portraits" is best approached. Paul McCarthy, modestly dressed in black corduroy, is shown seated on a weathered brocade couch before a wall of white-framed windows--no ketchup or elves in sight. …