Now Here - No Where

Chinese Impressions

The series Now Here—No Where examines the visualization of “past realities” and how the processes of recollection transform it. The primary function generally ascribed to photography is to depict a reality that has already become a past at the very moment the shutter is released. The momentary standstill the photographic exposure brings about freezes, or terminates, stories. Each photographic image is accordingly first and foremost a condensation of experiences whose emotional side has not been felt to its conclusion and yet is already a thing of the past.

There is nothing we can hold on to, for nothing remains as it is, and what is here is no longer ours.

China is rushing into the future. In virtually no other country, it seems, does the present turn into the past quite so rapidly. The thematic focus of the series is on the superimposition of “past realities” in China—captured using the appropriate medium, a pinhole camera—with digital fragments taken from a different time and a different place in the storehouse of memory. The shapes and perspectives are usually clearly recognizable and remain comprehensible, yet additional subtleties emerge only when we take a second and third look. Foregrounds and backgrounds overlap and interpenetrate; transparency, here, means neither a clear view nor insight—it instead concerns, and questions, our individual perception of reality.

Sabine Maier


Pinhole Photography with digital overprint on Gesso 36,5 x 55,5 cm (without frame), 53 x 73 cm (framed), unique copy, 2012