Erik Kessels was invited artist at the MAKK - Museum für Angewandte Kunst Köln as part of the first edition of the Artist Meets Archive programme.
Since 2000 he has also been the publisher of the photography magazine “Useful Photography” and has brought out more than 60 books, such as, for example, “Missing Links” (1999), “The Instant Men” (2000), “In almost every picture” (2001-2013) and “Wonder” (2006).Kessels does not take photographs himself but deals humorously, cleverly and pithily with existing photographs and found footage. Along the way, his artistic interest is focused, in particular, on the imperfection and mishaps of found amateur photographs from family albums, archives and the Internet. He unearths invisible and undiscovered patterns in countless, mainly privately-owned photographic portfolios, and uses them to pursue a kind of visual archaeology. As a result of his selection and processing the photographs are detached from their contexts and put together in new associations. Kessels’s interest lies more in the search for the story behind the photographs than in occupation with the actual image.
Working with archives gives me the freedom to look at imagery in an objective and fresh way. I try to discover unseen patterns and hunt for the unexpected. It’s like visual archaeology.
The previously unpublished collection of templates at the MAKK is part of the museum’s comprehensive Graphics Collection. This collection comprises approximately 25,000 illustrations from the Middle Ages into the 19th century and resembles a pictorial encyclopaedia that embraces all art genres. We are intrigued to find out how the artist Erik Kessels is going to apply his curatorial principle of ‘visual archaeology’ to the MAKK template collection and, as a result, enable the creation of new associations and new views of archive material that has never been on show before.
Internationale Photoszene Köln
More information about Erik Kessels
More about Erik Kessels:
Artist Meets Archive #2: Rautenstrauch-Joest cat Scratching the Black Box of Colonial Photographs
Artist Meets Archive #2: Gossan: Mars Mission
Artist Meets Archive #3: Yokohama Souvenirs
Artist Meets Archive #3: Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum
Artist Meets Archive #1: COELN. Cathedral of Light
Artist Meets Archive #3: NS-Documentation Center
Artist Meets Archive #3: Rhenish Image Archive
Artist Meets Archive #2: A Part of the Part
Artist Meets Archive #1: Paradiesvogel
Artist Meets Archive #2: Eaux des Colonies
Artist Meets Archive #1: GAAF
Artist Meets Archive #1: Die Hummer-Quadrille
Antje van Wichelen
Artist Meets Archive #1: NOISY IMAGES
The Artist Meets Archive programme invites international artists to collaborate with the Cologne Archives & Collections. Within the framework of a residency, they can immerse themselves in the city's photographic holdings and develop an exhibition project for the Photoszene Festival. In the first two editions of Artist Meets Archive, eleven artists were able to participate and present their projects in Cologne.