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Artist portraits (33): Andrea Geyer
Frankfurter Rundschau | 05.07.2002

++++ Photographs of New York always have this special power of attraction because you can see where they were taken, even if they do not contain any explicit indications of the location. Perhaps it is the light, the perspective from below between the buildings up into the sky, or it is the yellow taxis which always make a photo of New York into a more almost interesting picture. In Bad Nauheim, for instance, this is in any case much more difficult.
In the newspaper available at Portikus there are photographs of New York. A policeman doing his rounds on horse, two people in front of the high fences of a sports field in the middle of the city, joggers on Brooklyn Bridge.
The artist, Andrea Geyer, has possibly not completely lost the fascinated view of this city which every visitor first has. But her view has certainly passed the tourist stage.
The photographer, who was born in Freiburg in 1971 and who works and lives there still, knows what it means to be a stranger in New York. Her works also mostly have as their subject this state of simultaneous orientation and survival in a construction for which you were not prepared because you cannot prepare yourself for it.
But there is this manual for immigrants in which valuable tips for how to live in the United States are listed. Customs such as not calling a pretty young woman a bird, but a chick. Or never getting closer to another person than one or two feet so that they do not shrink back.
This information is the basis for the text which Andrea Geyer has written for her newspaper. It is the story of a woman in New York. In a sobre narrative tone she lists her daily routines, always coupled with knowledge from the book on rules of behaviour.
Always show an honest interest in a conversation with others, but never ask personal questions, for instance, is a recommendation supposed to guarantee unproblematic living with others. Andrea Geyer juxtaposes this information against the sobre statement "She walks into the other room. She has sex, again and again". All the information has equal weight, no matter what emotional valency it has.
The story is about strangers and also about the impossibility of getting through to the other. It starts there where personal and cultural dimensions become entangled in a hard, undoable knot. The decision not to exhibit the contribution made for Manifesta 4 in the classic sense, but to offer it in a newspaper format, plays an important role in Andrea Geyer's work which bears the multivalent title, Interim.
In comparison to framed pictures on a wall, a newspaper has something of an announcement character, on the one hand. On the other hand, it is initially closed.
The advantage, she says, is that in this way you can engage critically in her work almost anywhere. Take it, walk out, walk in towards the city centre, for example, and check out the appropriateness of the information about cultural commandments. That would be one possibility.
Portikus, Schöne Aussicht 2. hoh


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