These photographs—believed lost but discovered in a dusty crate locked away for two decades from the damaging effects of light—enter our current image-world like a breath of fresh air. They originate at the tail end of human analog time circa 1997–2000 and exhibited 2001/2005, shot on 35mm, three series printed by the artist in the darkroom at an almost impossibly large size. Time has changed these photographs as we gaze upon them again.
They are moments that no longer exist—subject with photographer before the potential of viral immediacy, before we were plugged into the mainframe, apparent in the repose of the subjects. People resting, existing in slow moments without screens in their hands. Their awareness is different, beyond the photographer.
There is an immense trust established with the people she photographs. Trust and pleasure. Sleeping or flashing. Full disclosure: I’ve been photographed by Steiner. It’s a moment of validation, where she sees and appreciates you. That moment is self-revelatory and validating, without shame. The work is in the act, just at the sound of Velcro as Steiner opened her hip-mounted camera case. Click.
Steiner is the consummate ethical voyeur. She’s a participant, not a creep hiding in the shadows with a zoom lens, or an outsider fascinated with a culture of which they are not a part. In the thick of it, performer and director, willing to pull out a tit for the pic if need be. These images relied on interconnection and multiplicity.
These re-emerging subjects weren’t worried that the photo would be posted, shared, and possibly consumed by an unknown audience, for a reason outside of the intimate intentions captured. In the here and now, Steiner’s work shows us this comfort at its top vibration. She takes us into the texture of everyday life, into a slowness that no longer exists. It’s a beauty of time.
— K8 Hardy, gallery text for A.L. Steiner show in Munich PROLOGUE: DISASTER PARADISE.
See link below for details.
Through January 21
Mauerkircherstrasse 186, Munich
K8 Hardy, Deborah Schamoni gallery text © K8 Hardy and Deborah Schamoni.
A.L. Steiner, Prologue: Disaster Paradise, Deborah Schamoni, Munich, December 2, 2022–January 21, 2023, Eat, Sleep, Disposable (retrieved), 2001/2022, 16 photographic prints behind acrylic glass. Artwork images (8) photographed by Ulrich Gebert.
Images © A.L. Steiner, courtesy the artist and Deborah Schamoni.