play it again
“Artworks that unfold to contemplation and thought without any remainder are not artworks.” Theodor W. Adorno
The girl in the photo holding a water glass seems familiar. So does the man with the fur cap and slingshot. But where have we seen them before? Was it in the paintings of the Dutch Masters, or in some other great work of art history?
The titles of the photographs offer few concrete clues; instead, they intensify the perplexity. Why is the photograph of a deserted rubber raft at the shore entitled “Non-Swimmer”? Why is a prosaic urban park scene called “Paradise No. 1”? The way the pictures are arranged on the wall is also puzzling—it seems impossible to conceive of what could possibly tie the different formats and subject matter together. This nebulousness is very much intended: Timotheus Tomicek plays skillfully with human perceptions and expectations, challenging his viewers to look closer, to interpret, and to make associations. Quoting, sampling, covering, and replicating well-known motifs, situations, and arrangements with a subtle irony, he breaks with established conventions of seeing and with fixed patterns of symbolic association. He leaves it up to the viewer to make connections and find new meanings. In this diverting scenario, the viewer is invited to play her own game with the ambiguities and the intermediary spaces that emerge between the pictures.