works from Oh Fail, You Beauty at Fotogalerie Wien
Given the pervasive influence that photography has on our social landscape, it is no surprise that artists have taken the opportunity to fundamentally reconsider those terms by which the medium operates. One of the clearest responses has been a “sculptural” one, that is to say, an examination of material properties and the work of Thomas Albdorf fits comfortably within this rubric, though without being entirely confined to it. Indeed, to assert that this work is concerned with photography is perhaps to define it too narrowly. Although his most immediate subject is undoubtedly photographic, this does not mean that Albdorf is engaged in a debate about what photography can be in and of itself. This is merely where the work begins, not some essential definition of what photography is as a medium, but rather a set of propositions aimed at discerning how photographs act – that is to say, what they do, as photographs. It seems that the most significant concern for Albdorf is to expose the mechanisms of representation by using them in a reflexive or even contradictory manner. His diverse approach is ideally situated to untangle the mesh of possibilities that define photography as a medium – and which, in turn, determine how it is used. This work poses the question of what, if anything, we might find outside the conventional “limits” of the image.
-Words by Darren Campion