Max Schaffer / The Tourists

Max Schaffer
The Tourists

Bülowstr. 90
D–10783 Berlin

22 November 2014 - 07 February 2015
Wednesday – Saturday
11am – 6pm and by appointment

Courtesy: the artist and Aanant & Zoo, Berlin. 
Photo: Jan Brockhaus and Stefan Hähnel

“Hi, do you know what day it is today?“ “Friday.“ “Yes, Friday, that’s my name. Today is my name.“ A broad grin spread across his face. “Can I take your picture?“ I laughed and was amused that he would want to take my picture. When he showed me the picture I couldn’t really see anything, the mobile phone was small and old and the sun stood low on the horizon. “You like it?” “Yes, I like it.” I wanted to be polite and was relatively certain that it would be a good photo. Friday laughed at this loudly . “Look, look. There’s no picture. My phone has no camera!” In the place where only seconds ago I thought I had seen the contours of my face there was nothing but the crude drawing of a stick figure. After that, both of us were laughing. 

The point of origin for Max Schaffer’s solo exhibition The Tourists consists of cursory sketches intended as drafts for potential paintings. The scanned digital versions of these drafts were sent to various online photo printing providers and subjected to the algorithmic contingencies of their software. The manual drawings were then destroyed and the resulting canvases sent to the exhibition space via parcel service. They are confronted with sample mattress pieces functioning as displays for Polaroid test images. The photographs originate from a defunct photo studio, whose inventory the artist has bought out. They demonstrate, not unlike the formulaically cropped printed canvasses, cutouts and views of several art works in varying sharpness and tonal values and document the technical approach of the photographer toward the particular reproduced object. 

Max Schaffer’s artistic practice is concentrated primarily on questions revolving around appropriation and translation. His exhibition-situations, often incorporating site-specific interventions, objects, drawings and text pieces, generate complex systems of reference between the exhibited work, the method of their production and the specific characteristics of the exhibition space. The reflection of cultural conventions as well as art historical associations is an integral component to the artistic articulation of a vocabulary that is committed to a questioning of image-theory and social and economic frames of reference.