The Picture

Audio visual installation, wall paper, picture frame, DVD, 5.50 min, 2011

Performer: Nathalie Pravda
Thanks to: Andrea Bozic

I’m no prophet. My job is making windows where there were once walls. (Michel Foucault)

The Picture is an audio visual installation for a wall and a picture hanging on that wall. The picture blends seamlessly into the wallpaper and from there it continuously shifts status: a Caspar David Friedrich painting The Monk by the Sea (1808 or 1810) becomes a window becomes a view to the sea becomes a brick wall which breaks open to the adjacent room with a window to the outside which becomes the wallpaper hanging in the exhibition space. The Picture creates a spacetime loophole in the wall in dialogue with the romantic position of the male figure in the landscape replaced by the female figure transforming the status and logic of the spaces she is contained within.

The Picture by Julia Willms

The position of the spectator:
The Picture plays with the position of the spectator relative to the work. It moves the spectator through a number of spaces by constantly shifting the context around him/her but without the spectator ever moving from their spot. This is done by the technique of placing a person into the image with their back to us, typically explored by Caspar David Friedrich. With Friedrich, the spectator gets immersed into the landscape of the image by identifying with the position of the viewer in the landscape. The Picture takes this principle further and lets a number of pictures within pictures evolve from this position. The spectator of the picture is thus playfully taken into the landscape but also travels through a number of different spaces, the status of which constantly changes too: a painting becomes a window. Every new space introduces a different atmosphere but also changes the status of the space and thus the viewer in relation to it. It combines a number of these spaces into a constantly fluctuating, hybrid space, which is a combination of several others. Finally, a traditionally male gaze associated with the viewer’s position is playfully replaced by the female who features both as the viewer, the viewed and the one actively acting on the change of the status of the space.


- Outlook-Inside, Museum Sinclair Haus, Stiftung Nantesbuch, Bad Homburg, Germany, 2018
- Elastic Video, NOE Kunstraum Wien, Vienna, Austria 2013
- EMAF 2012, Revolve, Dominikanerkirche Osnabrück, Germany, 2012
- Luid Land, Kunstfort Vijfhuizen, The Netherlands, 2012
- Blick nach draussen, Kunstpreis Palais Rastede, Germany, 2011 – 1. Prize
- Here and Now, GAM Gallery Obrist Essen, Deutschland, 2011 (Solo)

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