Jürgen Klauke, Dauerläufer, 1972/1973
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2024, Courtesy: Galerie Anita Beckers and Jürgen Klauke

RAY Echoes. Identity

Fotografie Forum Frankfurt

At the Fotografie Forum Frankfurt, Mónica Alcázar-Duarte, Joy Gregory, Jürgen Klauke, Dinu Li, and InuuteqStorch explore the making of and breaking away from identities. Echoes are present in the form of reflections on personal experience, transcendence, and the currency of retrospection. Alongside recent contemporary photographs and a video installation, earlier iconographic works are brought back to the fore in times of political polarisation over minorities, culture, and gender.

In Digital Clouds Don’t Carry Rain, which is being shown for the first time in continental Europe, Mónica Alcázar-Duarte offers a multi-layered time travel of identity, drawing on her Indigenous knowledge, the exploitative effects of the industrial revolution, and Spanish colonial casta paintings that imposed racist social hierarchies. The provocatively staged and sexually coded photographs of Jürgen Klauke’s Transformer series (1970–75) are not self-portraits per se, but project reflections on diversity and the imaginable.Joy Gregory’s nine-part Autoportrait from 1990 explores the photographic process and self-empowerment as a response to the lack of representations of Black female beauty. Inuuteq Storch’s Keepers of the Ocean, which captures everyday life in his native rural Greenland, is juxtaposed with Flesh, images made in New York City that reveal the alienation and aspirations of an emerging youth. In the world premiere of The Ghost Orchid Gesture, Dinu Li presents his own mother – ninety-three at the time of filming – as an ageing enigma, meandering cautiously through various gardens in the blossoming exuberance of spring, restaging her memories, transforming from one creature to another.

Identity is constantly evolving through ancestry, memory, experience, place, and emotion. Art allows for allusion and exploration. If a single image can represent the myth of one’s identity, then selections over time represent the acts of becoming.