Beatrix Reinhardt Statement

Artist Statement
This project visually investigates interior spaces that define themselves as membership clubs.

I started the Club series in 2003 in Australia, during an artist-in-residency at the Australian National University in Canberra. Meanwhile, I photographed clubs in China, the U.S., Ukraine, Spain and England.

The politics of space has been the center of interest in my work. How demarcation can be achieved through decoration and organization, the way individuals express themselves through how they organize, use and decorate their spaces, and how this can be seen as an expression of cultural values, ideals, beliefs, individual taste and sensibilities; and how architecture and decoration can reflect temporary liberation from everydayness are discussed in my photographic works.

Most of my photographs are un-peopled but replete with human presence, visible in form of the social relations conveyed by the organization of space. The absence of living beings in my work, which was a gradual development, is not a matter of formal convenience. It is rather motivated by allowing an unencumbered view of a social landscape, revealing information about the people who interact in these spaces, creating real and imagined narratives for the viewer. I do not intend to produce sociological studies. I see these photographs more as intimate portraits of the individuals who occupy/occupied these spaces.

My interest in clubs was sparked by the attitude of Australians towards these entities. Clubs appeared to be institutions of great significance within the social landscape. I never have been a big enthusiast of organized “togetherness,” which I always attributed to my upbringing in former East Germany, where a schedule of memberships was awaiting since the day one was born.

Thinking about the notions the concept club has to offer has been fascinating and extremely intriguing to me. Clubs are the nexus of homogeny and heterogeny. It is that space where “like” comes together and “unlike” stays apart. The club manifests the accomplishment of a unified “taste,” a harmony, a bringing together of certain personal elements, which could quite possibly otherwise have been kept apart. However, what remains apart is just as important as what comes together to constitute the club. That is, it is not only due to the nature of union that the club is defined and takes on a meaning but also due to the nature of exclusion. Exclusion becomes a main attribute of a club but more importantly it is what it excludes that becomes the defining characteristic of the club in question. All these notions have visual manifestations, which became the focus of this body of work.

Process Statement
I photograph with a Mamiya 7 and use only available light.

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