12/01/94 - 01/01/95
The artist titles this exhibition "Addendum", Latin for additional matter, appendix, supplement.
Since the mid-80s, the Englishman Steven Pippin, born in 1960, has become known for producing photographs with a pinhole camera. Next to these, he creates technical objects out of running TVs and loudspeakers, that look as if they were from a technical museum of the next century.
The photographs, on the other hand, show the world in front of us, calmly and naturally. To be exact, when viewing the photograph, the actual situation lies behind us. Steven Pippin makes a photo for the back wall of the Portikus room, showing a technically fine, black-and-white view of the inside wall at the entrance - the two symmetrical windows next to the central door blazing light - light and space. Prior to the exhibition at Portikus, the back part is separated by a wall and darkened. Through a central hole in the wall, photographic paper the size of the wall is exposed for more than 24 hours. Through the long period of time, the photograph will subsequently render a self-portrait of the Portikus exhibition hall. Anything present or moving within the hall for only a few minutes during this period is hardly be seen on the photograph. The dark-room is then the laboratory for developing the print. Afterwards, the separating wall is taken down and the photo-wall erected. The Portikus container becomes thus the camera, the developing lab, and the exhibition site of the work.
In this still manner, the artist dramatises not only the infrastructural spatial situation of a site for the presentation of art; what can also be seen in a most elementary fashion, is what photography can be - a present image of a time past using the concrete example of the site. The picture shows what it has seen. A critic once wrote on the occasion of a similar exhibition of Steven Pippin in New York in May, 1995, about the philosophical quality of this type of pinhole-photography: "What has he photographed? A present place in time past. Time itself."
The photo can only be comprehended in the context of its origin, in this case Portikus. Like a mirror, the photo reflects the spatial and light conditions.
In the adjoining room at Portikus, a video by Steven Pippin is shown, entitled "the continued saga of an amateur photographer". It was created in winter of 1993 in the lavatory of a train during a trip from London to Brighton. As Steven Pippin states, it has less to do with a personal obsession than with achieving an obscure photographic perfection in this difficult place.