Galerie van Gelder – AP
‘Ali, Nino and the Numbers’
Curated by Julia Geerlings

24 May – 25 June 2014
OPENING: Saturday 24th of May, 17.00 – 19.00
PERFORMANCE at 16.30 ‘Image Story, a conversation between images’

On a daily basis we are exposed to a constant stream of images. Almost 1.000 pictures are made every second and shared on social media and websites like Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook. How do we perceive these images and how to deal with this mass of images? These are recurring questions defined in the work by Christoph Westermeier (1984, Cologne) and materialized in his photographs and image-installations. In his first projects he worked mainly with found photographs and reproductions, but since his time in Amsterdam at ‘de Ateliers’ Westermeier has moved behind the lens to take his own photographs.

Westermeier is momentarily an artist-in-residence in Istanbul, where he has been taking photographs of the changing city during his many walks through the streets of Istanbul. These images are carefully selected and posted on Instagram and Tumblr as a visual journey around the city through the eyes of Westermeier. Besides his own photographed interpretation of Istanbul he is also drawn to the historical monuments and traditional (banned) imagery found in the museums of Istanbul. He is particularly interested in the German Archaeological Institute in Istanbul where he was fascinated by its extensive photo archive of black-and-white photographs of Turkey, its population, architecture and archaeological artefacts.

The title of the exhibition ‘Ali, Nino and the Numbers’ is a reference to the novel Ali and Nino (1937) by Kurban Said. Westermeier refers in his work often to literature as a way to understand the world around him. Ali and Nino is a novel about a romance between a Muslim boy and a Christian girl and the clash of the Western and the Eastern culture. The ‘Numbers’ in the title are a reference to the archives and the photographic work in the exhibition. The image-installations in the exhibition consist out of the historical black-and-white photographs taken from the German Archaeological Institute in combination with Westermeiers own photography.

Before he re-photographed images, where he made photographs of photographs while adding objects in the background or use sunlight to enhance the image. Recently he started to re-block his collected images and photographs. The re-blocking or layering of the images on top of each other forms a mosaic of images, which refer to the many images constantly surrounding us. In this exhibition he still works with different systems of display by hanging the photographs loosely on structures, putting them in archive boxes and placing them on different surfaces like marble pieces. In this sense Westermeier made his own archaeological collection and shows the construction and reception of images at the same time.

Christoph Westermeier is currently an artist-in-residence in Istanbul through Kunststiftung NRW. He graduated at the Academy of Fine Arts Dusseldorf in 2010 and was a participant at De Ateliers in Amsterdam in 2011-2013. He was awarded with the Förderpreis NRW in 2013, the Arbeitsstipendium Stiftung Kunstfonds Bonn in 2013 and the dHCS Scholarship by Kunstverein Dusseldorf in 2011 among others. Westermeier has exhibited in many group shows and solo exhibitions including Kunstverein Düsseldorf, Galerie Max Meyer, Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam, Westfälischer Kunstverein Münster, De Appel Arts Centre Amsterdam, KunsthausI6 in Freiburg and Museum voor Moderne Kunst Arnhem.