Joseph MarrJoseph Marr

Visual communication and digital photographic art are the core themes in Joseph Marr’s works. The artist usually depicts people taking photographs in his many-layered lightboxes. Here the camera symptomatically represents the entry into another reality.

In “JM002LB” Marr positioned four older tourists in front of a two-dimensional abstract background, which in its green-brown range of colors resembles an imaginary land map. This is however not a real landscape, but stands by itself. “The abstract background,” says the artist, “shows that the people have lost contact with their normal surroundings.” The black line around the figures implies as well this separation and also emphasizes the splitting of the picture into figurative and abstract levels. “In my works, I act as if I were creating a collage,” says Marr. For example, the abstract background originated from the computer and the image of the four people from an actual photograph. Marr searches the internet and chooses from the thousand results what best matches his idea of “tourists taking photographs.”  The origin is therefore not a concrete image, but instead the idea of it. Since the photographs from the internet do not hold any personal experience or memories for the artist, Marr is given the possibility to observe them with aloofness and use them as raw materials. He turns the normal use of image editing around: instead of optimizing the photography, he makes the pixels visible to present us with the non-material nature of digital products.

From its origin to the reproduction on this page of our website, the photograph traverses through different stages and meanings. It starts its journey from an actual event (as in the coming together of four people and their anonymous photographer) and loses any personal reference when it enters the global net. In the next stage the image is downloaded onto Joseph Marr’s computer and altered to go into the lightbox. Then with its presentation in Museum Kunstwerk, the image is again seeable offline only to be presented again on the internet as a further image of itself.

There are at least four other photographs indirectly contained in “JM002LB,” namely all the photographs the tourists take in the moment they themselves become subjects of a photograph. What these are remain unknown to the observer of the lightbox and are further anonymous material that will turn up somewhere in the circulation of photography and images.