The E.N.D. (The Energy Never Dies)
photo series, 2011
The attribute ‘irony’ offers itself in approaching the project ‘The E.N.D.’ Irony is contained within the expressive title of the series, inspired by Elfriede Jelinek’s novel, Wonderful, Wonderful Times. It has a many-layered nuance, diverse strategies, and a fluid level of overtness or implicitness. The short snippets of her novel have a theme of luck, aptly parodying poetic formulation in a precisely conceived game of language cliché, which paraphrases our requirements of an ideal world.
The E.N.D.’s series is based on linking references to the typified aesthetics of the portrait with what might be termed nonsensical elements which subvert the typification. The technically and compositionally precise portraits ‘confidently’ stress the aesthetic and social stereotypes of the given genre. As such, they give the impression of inappropriateness, oddity, without it being absolutely clear why. This irony is also contained in the categorization of the photographic collection as ‘ideograms’. The word ideogram means a symbol that represents a concept, idea. That such a term is used for photographs with themes of, amongst others, the emptiness of meaning, can again be perceived as ironic and hyperbole.
In these considerations, we might arrive at another layer of speculation: isn’t the use of Elfriede Jelinek ironic towards intellectual emblems and values? A helpful starting point might be the replacement of the word ‘irony’ for a more general and also more precise term. Alienation offers itself up, in the sense of the impossibility of the viewer’s emotional experience with reference to ‘mere’ construct and formal art pun (as in Brecht’s alienation, or distancing, effect, not alienation in the sense of citation references, although we meet this here too). Another specific trait of the author’s concept is linking a conceptual approach which works within a scope which goes beyond art, with formal brilliance to a spectacular level.
If we were to interpret the theme with regard to its title, The E.N.D., which here stands for The Energy Never Dies, we would further expand its nature with the romanticizing notion of aiming unendingly for ideals and dreams towards death.