Magazine article Artforum International

Ricarda Roggan: Galerie Eigen + Art

Magazine article Artforum International

Ricarda Roggan: Galerie Eigen + Art

Article excerpt

Ricarda Roggan is decidedly different from the current crop of young artists from Leipzig, who favor a decoratively painted amalgamation of Photoshop realism and sampled figures. Roggan's photographs, which were included in last year's Berlin Biennial, are characterized by a brittle reductionism close to the documentary style of the '70s. She studied at Hochschule fur Grafik und Buchkunst Leipzig with Timm Rautert, whose photographic reportage of factories beginning in the '60s greatly influenced the way that daily life was presented artistically in West Germany.

Born in Dresden in 1972, Roggan witnessed the demise of the GDR as a teenager. Thus, she brings something of an insider's perspective to her analysis of the functional aesthetic that was the Socialist response to the Bauhaus. The subjects of her photographs are the actual sites of this lost Socialism: East Germany's Plattenbauten (high-rise housing made of prefabricated concrete slabs) and industrial buildings. Roggan's earlier photographs, shot on the site of an old spinning mill in Leipzig, were sparse tableaux of office chairs, tables, first-aid kits, mattresses, and other found objects. These works depict spaces as constricted and oppressive as jail cells. Roggan portrays stasis in a no-man's-land of objects: Positioned in brightly whitewashed rooms, the abandoned objects appear alien and out of place. These images, with their strict composition and repetitive arrangements, function as allegories of a life without utopian possibility.

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In "Schacht" (Shaft), 2006, the series on view at Galerie Eigen + Art, Roggan pushes her formalist approach even further. …

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