Anja Ronacher



21er Raum at 21er Haus, Vienna

January 23 — Februar 24, 2013


“I operate under the assumption that at the basis of the photographic image there is a desire,” says Anja Ronacher, whereby she understands desire as an evolutionary product of archaic needs. These same needs are satisfied by the containing vessel, of which Heidegger writes: “The void is that aspect the vessel which holds. This emptiness, this nothing within the jug, is what the jug is as a holding vessel.” Furthermore, he describes the thing in itself through nearness: “In nearness is that which we are accustomed to calling a thing. But what is a thing? Man has given as little thought to the thing as a thing as he has to nearness.”(1)
Thus, in a certain sense, Anja Ronacher’s photographs are also placeholders for the void, for the signifier that the vessel stands for. That relates to our elementary needs; we have, as it were, a natural relationship of nearness to this thing. The same is true of fabric, which we approach primarily via the haptic. Ronacher’s photographs of drapery play on the absence of a body, despite the fact that textiles are indivisibly associated with corporeality. “The work of draping is a slow advance toward form, which is both being worked upon and is occurring.” And, Ronacher continues, “the way in which time occurs in images is also twofold: in the time of working on the material and in the time of the exposure.” The time of exposure determines the degree of darkness. Draping is a work of lessening and reduction, “a return to the depth of the world,”(2) as Deleuze notes in an essay on Leibniz. In photography, the fold becomes form without matter, a “disembodied similarity,”(3) as Maurice Blanchot writes. Similarly, the artist’s photographs of archeological objects and vessels demonstrate a simultaneous presence and absence in the images, whereby the producers of the things and the draperies are also unknown: depersonalized and deaurafied (in accord with Ronacher’s ideal of the artist).
The object comes before the image, and thus the image becomes a site of loss and of invocation: an invocation of the magical, the uncontemporary, the historical. “The point is, the image doesn’t define itself through the sublimeness of its content, but through its form – its “internal tension” – or through the force it gathers to make the void or to bore holes, to loosen the grip of words, to dry up the oozing of voices, so as to disengage itself from memory and reason: a little alogical image, amnesic, almost aphasic, now standing in the void, now shivering in the open,”(4) writes Deleuze. Like photography, the vessel is grounded in its negative. In the vessel this negative is an emptiness, a gap: “void”.

(1) Martin Heidegger, “The Thing”
(2) Gilles Deleuze, “The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque”
(3) Maurice Blanchot, “The Two Versions of the Imaginary”
(4) Gilles Deleuze, “The Exhausted”, in Samuel Beckett, “Quad” (plays for television)

Anja Ronacher, born in Salzburg in 1979, lives and works in Vienna. She studied photography at the Royal College of Art in London and the Estonian Academy of Arts in Talinn, as well as scenography at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. Her works have recently been shown at Beers Lambert Contemporary, London (2012), Museum of Modern Art Salzburg (2010), Salzburger Kunstverein (2010) and Fotohof Salzburg (2009).


Exhibition catalogue:
21er Raum 2012 – 2016
Edited by Agnes Husslein-Arco and Severin Dünser
Including texts by Severin Dünser, Simon Dybbroe Møller, Paul Feigelfeld, Agnes Husslein-Arco, Lili Reynaud-Dewar and Luisa Ziaja on exhibitions by Anna-Sophie Berger, Andy Boot, Vittorio Brodmann, Andy Coolquitt, Simon Dybbroe Møller, Iman Issa, Barbara Kapusta, Susanne Kriemann, Adriana Lara, Till Megerle, Adrien Missika, Noële Ody, Sarah Ortmeyer, Mathias Pöschl, Rosa Rendl, Lili Reynaud-Dewar, Anja Ronacher, Constanze Schweiger, Zin Taylor, Philipp Timischl, Rita Vitorelli and Salvatore Viviano
Graphic design by Atelier Liska Wesle, Vienna/Berlin
Softcover, 21 × 29,7 cm, 272 pages, numerous illustrations in color
Belvedere, Vienna, 2016
ISBN 978-3-903114-18-0