Given the increasingly established trend in Argentina to keep firearms as an individual response to the growing sense of insecurity, I decided to work symbolically around the object: the firearm.
Portrait of middle and upper class people in their homes. Each person has his gun in hand. The decision to work with these segments of society goes against our normal model of people carrying weapons. In each society the collective imagination generates a stereotype of suspicious persons. The media’s repeated images of a single theme and context anesthetize one’s powers of observation and the possibility of their reflecting on what they see.
"...."Potential", "Vigil" and "Lineup"constitute a third group, gathered under the generic title "Banal Crimes" . Here, the artist disappears as the main character and the handling of violence goes beyond sexual implications. Asseff photographed and filmed people who live with firearms in their houses.
We know that language does not represent, but rather constitutes reality. Initiated in 2005, the production of this work emerged at a moment in which the communication media had established the lack of safety as an important line of discourse. These pieces do not allude to the degree of danger as a concrete phenomenon, but to what extent concern over the lack of safety took on a very concrete presence at a particular historical moment, articulating how a majority of people would perceive reality, in a range that spanned diverse social classes. The construction of a discourse of danger originates forms of subjectivity that are articulated in relation to the feeling of fear. It also generates specific forms of behavior. Firstly, tasks of control are distributed by capillary action to each and every citizen, and there is a preventative isolation between people (ties between neighbors are destroyed): every other becomes suspect. Secondly, conduct in adherence to the repressive structure of power is reinforced: there are demands for increased police control, etc.
The theme in Asseff’s work is paranoia. Her titles infallibly hit the mark. Potencial [Potential] and Vigilia [Vigil] refer to states of suspense. The danger is there, not as an occurrence, but as a hypothesis. It is the supposition of imminent danger that charges these scenes with tension, scenes that on the other hand are resolved as familiar, domestic scenarios in accordance with portraiture’s classic typology. These are people from the middle class and upper middle class. According to the socially stereotyped view of violence, a weapon is practically an epithet or “natural attribute” of a marginal (or dangerous) person. Asseff’s photographs are both caustic and ambiguous because they take from the historical decorum of the portrait genre, which came into being as an expression of the 15th Century Italian and Flemish mercantile bourgeoisie.
(1) Paragraph of the Essay
REGARDING HELLS AND PARADISES:
AN APPROACH TO ANANKÉ ASSEFF’S UNIVERSE
by Valeria González, published in the book ANANKE ASSEFF WORK 1999-2012.
Ananké Asseff’s diverse body of work includes photography, installation, video, interactive pieces, sculpture, objects and site-specific works involving highly charged scenarios that evoke imagined and/or provoked fear and menace within individual and social constructs. We know that language does not represent, but constitutes reality. Paranoia is Asseff’s theme; danger exists not as an occurrence, but as a hypothesis. The presumption of imminent danger loads her scenarios with tension. In early works, violence took on sexual iconography and was later embodied in social terms, where she photographed and filmed people who live with firearms in their houses (2005-2007).
Statement continues 01:
In 2011, situations or motifs already present in certain photographs evolved in new formats such as sculpture or installation, where a profound conceptual coherence unites diverse pieces. The threatening potential of an enormous wave of mud (Untitled, 2011) originates in the impression of a moment that is frozen in the same way as a photograph. While photographs like The Secret Had to Be Unveiled capture an explosive climax, in this huge installation-pushing the exhibition space’s physical limits-the cataclysm is held in suspense, like the bloodshed in the interiors with guns in the Potential series.
Visual artist, born in Buenos Aires
Her works can be found in the collections of the Tate Modern in London, the Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro, the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Wifredo Lam de La Habana and ARTER in Istanbul; in Argentina, those of the Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires, Argentina’s Fondo Nacional de las Artes, the Museo Castagnino+MACRO in Rosario, the Palais de Glace in Buenos Aires, the Museo E. Caraffa in Córdoba and the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires. She has been awarded distinctions such as a scholarship from the Academy of Media Arts KHM in Germany and a residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada (2004 - 2005), both awarded jointly with Fundación Antorchas; the Premio Leonardo a la Fotografía 2002 (awarded by the Asociación Argentina de Críticos de Arte); and an Advanced Study Award in Audiovisual Media from the Fondo Nacional de las Artes (2001). She also received the first prize in the Premio Rioplatense de Artes Visuales 2004, given by Fundación OSDE, second prize in the Salón Banco Ciudad in 2002, second prize in the Premio Federico J. Klemm a las Artes Visuales in 2009 and second prize in the Premio Mamba-Fundación Telefónica, Arte y Nuevas Tecnologías in 2011, among others. In 2007 she received a subsidy from the Fondo Metropolitano de las Artes de Buenos Aires and a National Grant for Group Projects from the Fondo Nacional de las Artes, and in 2012, the Konex prize in Photography, awarded by the Fundación Konex. She has par ticipated in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Mexico, Colombia, Cuba, Germany, Holland, Spain, the United States and China. She lives and works in Buenos Aires.
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