500 Copies

Harald Popp produces digital views of analog settings. What we see in these works is concrete. But how we see it is not. With the uninterrupted presence of the digital image Popp dramatizes his objects far beyond their haptic forms of existence. Although we can identify the objects in front of us, that support each other in what seems to be impossible constellations, their integration into a meaningful unity is foreclosed. Popp’s settings do not become bodies, they remain prothetical images, displays, that exhibit themselves. They remain objects, calibrated against the self-assuring qualities of our sight, against a gaze that always remains corporeal, that is seeking out a third dimension within the second, to be eased into figuration, to establish a corporeal relationship, to identify what is faced.

But somewhere a sense of abstraction seeps into the object world. And it is exactly this point that is signified by the digital. A technical banality of worldwide interconnectedness it has become more and more the synonym of a permanent globalized crisis. But even the digitally achieved conception of the world as a biosphere marks above all its immanent decay. Digitality as a cataclysmic abstraction of a banal analog life. In Popp’s works this abstraction does not appear as an external threat but as a quality gained in and by banality. And therefore Popp’s abstraction is not cataclysmic but rather creates a transition in which the banal objects are assigned an elegant second existence: no digital reduction to their surface, but an expanded life emanating from it.

Popp demonstrates a transition of bodies into their digital form, a temporary intensification beyond figuration. An abstraction like Gilles Deleuze observed it in Francis Bacon, “a double motion, of the fields of color towards the figure and of the figure towards the fields.“ In Bacon’s paintings this movement is a brutalism. After all it is human beings who loose their figuration. For Popp the mutual desintegration of the colorfields and the bodies has nothing brutal. The human beings have been evacuated. The disappearance of borders turns from the digital abstraction’s threatening attack of the figurative life to that life’s secret path.

What expands the serial aesthetics in “Untitled - Scan“ turns into an infringement of a completely different kind in “500 Copies“: Here the photography becomes a secret path of sculpture. Popp demonstrates a depth that is free of inwardness. And once again Deleuze, who described the inside as “the fold of the outside“, as condensed surface. Popp omits even this fold. He dramatizes the surface and presents its inside as its randomly continued repetition, more repetition, more inside. “500 Copies“ presents a digital reconstruction of analog banalities, in which the separation of inside and outside is lifted for the benefit of a permanent transition from figuration and abstraction into one another. Digitality not as a threat to the physical life but as its expansion into the second dimension.