JESSICA BACKHAUS (Cuxhaven, Germany, 1970)
Though she is widely praised for finding the beauty in the banal, the real strength of Jessica Backhaus’s work lies in its deep and sensuous exploration of memory, identity and personal destiny. Her photographs peel back the layers of ordinary details and materials — whether found in everyday life or arranged in a studio — to reveal the symbols from which we construct our innermost sense of self. This can happen within a deceptively simple abstract interplay of color, shape and shadow; or can emerge within the textures and composition of a naturally occurring scene. Backhaus typically begins with her own perceptions, personal history and intuition, and arrives at a vision that transcends herself.
The openness of her image-making process lends an openness to her images that allows the viewer to explore the pictures on various levels — as narrative space, as a reflection of the self, or simply as an aesthetic revery. Interiors, still lifes, portraits, collages, and landscapes: all feel rooted in an evolving search for what lies unseen just beneath the surface of an image, and of life itself.
Through December 17 Backhaus’ work will be on view in an important exhibition titled “The Nature of Things” in Berlino: over 80 artworks, many of them never seen before. She is currently working on her upcoming monograph, the tenth with publisher Kehrer Verlag, titled ‘Plein Soleil’.