Deep water & Grandmother’s cellar: Susanne Ludwig

Discover photographer Susanne Ludwig 

From 'Deep water between us' © Susanne Ludwig

About Susanne’s photography: My artistic practice revolves around our experience of reality, loss, time and memory.

Every individual perceives the world differently, lives in his “own” world. I am interested in the question of how individuals behave and are influenced by the society that surrounds us. I alternate between documenting and staging events and situations. Art is fiction, one might say, but can’t reality be just as fictitious? To a great extent, reality is a construction based on the ideology in society. Naturally, there is no such thing as an objective reality, since this is a product of a subjective idea formed on the basis of the preconditions of the individual person in terms of education, intellectual environment and personal preferences.

Initially I produced photographs of abandoned industrial interiors. These images were packed with forlorn debris left by the bankrupt inhabitants. I discovered my interest in the object became a residue of time passing. This developed further into a photographic series of discarded objects collected by my grandmother. Never throwing anything away she consequently accumulated a vast collection on display in the cellar. While photographing her museum, I drew my own imagination of her life to the surface by playing light over these items. I imagined my grandmother’s life before I was born. Moreover, they developed a double meaning: having surrounded me throughout my life, these objects also turned into memories of my own childhood.

From 'Deep water between us' © Susanne Ludwig

From 'Deep water between us' © Susanne Ludwig

From 'Deep water between us' © Susanne Ludwig

Photographs of a young girl and of her old great-grandmother are shown in conjunction.

One inhabiting the world of a child’s imagination, the other absorbed by her own world of memories, which separates her from the presence. When I photographed them I tried to imagine the girl’s experience and the life of the old woman, knowing that it is not really possible to take part in their worlds. I reflected on the (loss of) childhood, on developing but also on aging and regression.

From a high viewpoint the viewer overlooks a valley without knowing what is going to happen. After a minute a 750 year-old historic church appears in the image and disappears.

From 'Grand-mother's Cellar' © Susanne Ludwig

A German village had to make way for the expanding mining industry. The relocation of a whole church enables it to survive, whilst the rest of the old village no longer exists. The church has become a place of memory, a memorial to a lost home, aiming to represent the culture and identity of former inhabitants. The achievements of modern technology make the transition of the church physically possible. The past and the future collide but also interact in a surreal way.

The whole work is structured into three parts. I explore the transition between still and moving images: Longer time periods are compressed to last merely a few minutes. Shorter time periods are shown nearly in real time. One video shows an inflatable church in the interim stages of inflation and deflation and in the other one a hot air-balloon in the shape of a church flying towards the sky. The sequences loop in continual repetition resulting in a state of timelessness. The situation appears to be completely wrapped up in its self, and this makes the viewer doubt its credibility as reality and has a certain surreal and also an absurd character.

I intend to surprise and to confuse the viewer. Is this a fake animation or a real scene? Looking at it the viewer is confronted with the formation of meaning and concerns him with issues like the (loss of) faith, profanation and revaluation of values or the fulfilling of dreams.

From 'Grand-mother's Cellar' © Susanne Ludwig

From 'Grand-mother's Cellar' © Susanne Ludwig

From 'Grand-mother's Cellar' © Susanne Ludwig

To contact Susanne or to view more of her work. visit her website here

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