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photographs, since the route of digital production culminates again at the route to analog photographic images. Alongside the flowing inter-media borders not always recognizable for the viewer or user, Cottingham reaches back for a style, subject matter, and visual concept with strong ties to the histories of easel painting and photography. His three fictional portraits, identical in size and style, take up the notion of painted easel portraiture, focussing on the tripleportrait variation among other details. Hung side by side in black frames, in the context of the «Photography After Photography» exhibition they seem perfectly akin with conventional photographs – but they radically question the supposed photographic. Here little remains of photography in the sense of a light-inscribed depiction of reality – perceptual and artistic traditions are merely taken up via the photographic suggestion. While Cottingham completes simulations, since 2001 Thomas Ruff travels an opposing route with «Nudes». Andreas Gursky’s university colleague exploits the so-called ‹thumbnails› used in the Internet – thumbnail-size images that indicate the downloading of a larger format. Ruff downloaded such
‹thumbnails› of pornographic images and then attached them to a panel image-format. When greatly enlarged, the low resolution of the images turns them into painterly, blurred images. Here the questioning of authorship and artistic character, of appropriating foreign, commercial materials and artistic innovation, as well as questioning a work’s suitability on the art market, is taken to the limit.
In her media-art-network contribution ‹monstrous bodies,› Yvonne Volkhart has deformed faces and distorted bodies express themselves (cf. Yvonne Volkhart: Monstrous Bodies), shown, for example, in portraits by Anthony Aziz and Sammy Cucher, or the manipulated large-format glossy images by the Dutch artist Inez van Lamsweerde:
In «The Dystopia Series» (1994) by Anthony Aziz and Sammy Cucher, perfect digital retouching blatantly presents itself as an offensive manipulation in their images. The portraits maintain all the formal qualities needed to make viewers perceive them as photographs. Yet the faces are dehumanized, unable to receive sensory impressions or communicate, since the openings for their eyes, noses, mouths, and ears