Rhein-Zeitung from 18.09.2017


The City of Limburg awards its art prize to the Potsdam-based artist couple Koschies – exhibition runs until 12 November



Axel and Birgit Koschies explain their works, which will be exhibited there in the coming weeks, to the guests at the award ceremony in the art collections of the City of Limburg. (Photos: City of Limburg)

Limburg. The artist couple Koschies from Potsdam has received the Limburg Art Prize 2017, endowed with 5000 euros. The award ceremony is also associated with an exhibition that will be on display in the art collections in the following weeks.

On the move – that is the impression conveyed by the pictures of the artist couple Koschies from Potsdam. Impressive and fascinating works between film and photography that will leave their mark on the art collections of the city of Limburg in the coming weeks. Works that the city is honouring with this year’s Art Prize.

“A special exhibition, one can tell at first glance. Very impressive works.” Mayor Dr Marius Hahn, welcoming the award ceremony and exhibition opening, left no doubt. And he could very well understand the jury’s decision, which had unanimously chosen the Koschies as the prize-winners from 41 applications. The motto of the art award was “ZeitSprünge” (“TimeLeaps”).

The jury’s assessment says, among other things: “The results are fascinating ‘time jumps’ of exceptional charm, whose mysteriousness challenges the imagination as much as the intellect”. The jury members are: Irene Rörig (Head of the Cultural Office of the City of Limburg), Professor Eckhard Kremers (artist), Dr Gabriel Hefele (art historian), André Kramm (Chairman of the Förderkreis Bildende Kunst Limburg) and Johannes Bröckers (journalist).

Annette Kretzschmar, deputy chairwoman of the Förderkreis Bildende Kunst, which organises the art award with the town and the support of the Kreissparkasse Limburg, urged the guests in the art collections to take their time in looking at the works. These are pictures that require a second, third or fourth look – and even then, much remains undiscovered.
Axel Koschies then introduced the works himself. There is a clear division of labour between him and his wife Birgit in the creative process. She operates the camera, he writes the script for the shots and the realisation of the production is conducted jointly. “We sit between the chairs with our work, between film and photography, between physics and philosophy,” is how the artist describes the joint work and what is exhibited in Limburg.

The technique is somewhere at the interface between film and photography; the couple’s works are presented as photographs, but the process of creation is that of a film. The Koschies make photographs with a time-slit camera and lets the film run. In the beginning, this was an analogue process. The film ran past behind a vertical slit, was exposed and went straight into the developer. With this shooting technique, time becomes visible, so to speak – in floating, distorted, compressed motifs. What does not move becomes a line. What moves becomes visible. The motifs acquire a sharp focus only when they reach the same speed as the film.

By now, the artist couple works with a digital camera, making it possible to take colour photographs. The temporal succession also becomes a spatial juxtaposition in digital photographs. That is why the pictures are also very wide. In the art collections, the winners of the Limburg Art Prize also present their works themselves as “ZeitSprünge”. In each room they present paintings from a different creative period. The starting point in the entrance hall is reserved for old works with the analogue time-slit camera, the second exhibition room is mainly filled with images of film directors, and the final room is a collection of portraits. These portraits are still a fairly fresh challenge for the artist couple. “The working process still leads to surprising results, even for us,” Axel Koschies told the guests before the first guided walk through the exhibition, referring to motifs that seem detached from any law of physics.

The artist couple thanked the city for awarding the prize. Mayor Dr Hahn also thanked the jury and the team from the cultural office for the preparatory work and the presentation, as well as the Kreissparkasse for the sponsorship.

The exhibition can be seen at the art collections until 12 November.




Artist couple uses unusual technique to set pictures in motion.

These are works that demand a second look – or even more.

When the artist couple Koschies presents its images or rather photographs, they seem to radiate a normality that turns into irritation upon a second glance. Until 12 November, there is an opportunity to take this first, second, third… look at the photographs. This year’s winners of the Limburg Art Prize are presenting their works in the art collections of the City of Limburg; Johannes Laubach interviewed the artists.

ZeitSprünge (TimeLeaps) is the theme of the Limburg Art Award. When you present your photos in the historical buildings of the art collections, it really is a leap in time.

Koschies: It is very exciting for us to present our work in such old, historical buildings. It bears no resemblance to the modern galleries and art halls in which we mostly exhibit: no large and straight surfaces but many niches, visible ceiling beams, angles, corners and slopes. But we also respond to this with our exhibition. In the Historic Town Hall, i.e. the older building of the art collections dating back to 1350, we will present our black and white photographs. These are our older works; we will show the newer works in the neighbouring building.

But there is also a leap in time with the format of your works. They are spatially very landscape format oriented works.

Koschies: That’s true. The leap in time also becomes evident in the formats, so to speak. The way we shoot automatically leads to very wide motifs, which do not correspond to the architecturel style of the houses in Limburg’s old town. There, the method of building is strongly characterised by a vertical format – this becomes clear, for example, when looking at the ecclesiastical art of the time.

You make time visible in your works: not the time of the centuries, but the time during the exposure.

Koschies: Photographs are actually snapshots. However, our pictures are not only taken at the moment of pressing the shutter release and thus at a specific point in time, but over a period of time. Our motifs move or remain stationary; it’s very different. What is unusual about our work is that the film moves past the slit the whole time without stopping and is thus permanently exposed. For our portraits, for example, this takes 30 seconds.

At first glance, it looks as if Photoshop or another image editing programme has been used.

Koschies: We do hear that quite often. But we don’t work with image editing programmes; the surreal alienations definitely emerge during the recording and only through the deformations caused by time itself.

At second glance, things become recognisable that are not as easily explained – shadows that do not seem to fit the picture at all, a suitcase that becomes a colour bar or limbs that deform.

Koschies: Since humans are not used to perceiving the fourth dimension visually, we are initially irritated by the visualisation of time. Even we don’t know what exactly comes out at the end of a shoot. Often many attempts are necessary, only about every 50th leads to a presentable result. That’s why the shots have to be precisely staged; they need a script. In a manner of speaking, cinematic photographs are created which, as finished works, are composed of distortions, doublings, suspended states and more.

In Limburg, you are presenting a larger number of portraits for the first time.

Koschies: That’s right. Until now, we have only shown a few portraits in public. In Limburg, we will fill a whole room with them. These are also new motifs for us, which on the other hand, take us back to our origins by returning to black and white. In the portraits, the head of our models is constantly photographed while rotating through a slit. This creates a 360° shot – so not just the face but an all-around view that captures everything that happened in the 30 seconds or so during the shot. It may be that the eyes look in different directions, or the ears have different shapes…

Birgit and Axel Koschies present portraits in a separate room of the art collections; they are 360-degree shots taken with a time-slit camera over a period of 30 seconds.