Viktoria Binschtok addresses the complex status of the contemporary photographic image. By generating shifts in the contexts of how we use and consume photographs on a daily basis, her works offer an incisive look into the mechanisms guiding the use and distribution of visual information today.
For her exhibition at Kunstverein Göttingen the Russian born and Berlin-based artist presents selections from her most recent series, entitled Cluster. These striking groupings of photographs are based on a starting image taken by the artist, which is subsequently entered into an Internet search engine. She then selects various results from these queries, either simply reproducing or digitally reworking them, to produce a pairing or grouping of photographs that are obviously related but follow an unspoken logic. The search algorithms used in matching images operate purely on the basis of composition and color, and Binschtok’s groupings do not enable the viewer to readily identify the “original.” In fact, installations are emphatically non-hierarchical, employing a diverse range of formats and printing techniques and in some cases verging on sculptural arrangements. The bright contrast and sharp focus of hyper-reality predominate, yet here and there Binschtok’s photographs reveal imperfections— an isolated low-resolution image or rough edge.
With or without knowing the source of the images, the viewer automatically attempts to draw parallels and make associations between the components of the clusters. And through her selections and groupings Binschtok knows how to play intelligently on the emotionality of color, the semiotic power of juxtaposed content, and the tactile qualities of contrasting surfaces and textures. Meaning production and the mathematical “eye” of the internet come together in producing a context, in which all claims to authenticity are suspended, and yet the images indicate a plethora of potential realities and relationships. As a result the Cluster series is not only an investigation of the logic by which digital images are circulated also a look at the visual language that shapes contemporary screen-based culture.