Trust Me 04, 2012, C-Print on aluminium, cassette frames, acrylic glass, 198 x 155 cm,
© and courtesy the artist
Trust Me 05, 2012, C-Print on aluminium, cassette frames, acrylic glass, 178 x 140 cm,
© and courtesy the artist
Waste Land 02, 2011, C-Print on acrylic glass, acrylic glass box, 45 x 70 x 4 cm,
© and courtesy the artist
Waste Land 06, 2011, C-Print on acrylic glass, acrylic glass box, 45 x 70 x 4 cm,
© and courtesy the artist

Robert F. Hammerstiel 

 

Robert F. Hammerstiel’s photographic and video works explore the surrogate worlds people create to compensate for unfulfilled longings. The online video game Second Life simulates real life – the user can even order or construct landscapes. The artist’s photo series Waste Land (2011) shows artificially constructed natural sceneries gradually emerging as the computer performs its calculations, with building blocks for landscapes and architectures floating through space; the sense of idyllic peace that pervades the finished landscapes is fractured by these surreal constellations. For the photographic series Trust Me (2011–12), Hammerstiel set faithful reproductions of plants made of synthetic materials before a neutral white backdrop, photographed them, and then made life-sized prints. Like many of his works, the pictures quote as well as undermine the aesthetics of advertising visuals with their ingenious symbiosis of allure and manipulation: the plants ‘pose’ in all their beauty, offering themselves as merchandise promising happiness, and are yet no more than an ersatz nature, a decorative mass product. Here reality is subjected to a double shift – the translation into photography transfers the plants, manufactured to look deceptively ‘real’, into a realm of the hyperreal.

Petra Noll