Viktoria BINSCHTOK (*1972 in Moscow, RUS)
raised in Minden/Westphalia (Germany)
Lives and works in Berlin (Germany)
In 2004 Viktoria Binschtok undertook several photographic forays through New York. For the series LVNY, she photographed the handbags of passers-by. Her gaze has fallen solely on bags from the company Louis Vuitton, hence the title of the eleven-photo series. In an idiosyncratic way, the artist combines the intentions of staged fashion photography with the randomness of documentary-style photography, the strictly conceptual procedure with the happenstance of a lucky shot. The resulting photographs neither appear to be located solely in advertising photography nor are they content to offer a situational reproduction of a sudden moment of perception. In the precision of their colours and clarity, the individual photographs take on the form of aesthetic arrangements.
The near-vision of the photographs serve to abstractify them somewhat: they resemble compositional structures of colour. We see people and objects in magnified detail. Yet at the same time, with the constantly changing flow of passers-by, the images can be seen as capturing a fleeting street scene that eludes the lingering gaze. Binschtok’s photographs derive their haunting effect from these contrasts. Her photographic approach is based on familiar patterns. On the one hand, we have the eye-catching, unusual colour shots that are used in advertising photography. On the other hand, also present are the familiar anonymous street scenes of a bustling metropolis. The peculiar nature of the images loses the flair of the unexpected. The fashion item becomes an ever-recurring accessory and therefore an accessory as faceless as the people who wear it. The city becomes an anonymous place without individual character. The photographer carefully stages photographs that play with our expectations. They arouse our desires and disappoint them at the same time, forcing us to think about our preconceived patterns of perception.
Text: Guido Boulboullé