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Edition 5 / Concept: In a globalized world, where history, myths and legends find their ways across cultures, the mummery and its narration no longer belong to a particular national heritage. Narratives change depending on the storyteller, and an imagery is equally redefined and expanded. When the past is reinterpreted in pop culture, it no longer has much to do with its origins, but sets its accents and forms a new fictional narrative. Image worlds are no longer bound to national borders, but become common property, a gigantic open source database that anyone can freely help themselves to. The narrator shifts the meaning of the respective details and thus forms new attributions. This phenomenon is not new, but has only expanded due to rapid and mass communication. In early prehistoric times, people developed new hybrid beings by combining different narratives. The interpretation of the same legendary figures can vary greatly in different cultures and fluctuates between positive and negative attribution. Nowadays, this phenomenon can be discovered in all creative industries, especially in the character design of video games, literature, cartoons or the film industry. In my latest series, I try to bring this process to a head through my own myth-making, using elaborate digital image collages, creating new Wolpertingers with photographic archival material from various countries. An interplay of the most diverse meanings, bundled in one figure, which is robbed of its original meaning and encoded anew again and again. Like Frankenstein's monster, I assemble each figure piece by piece until a mannequin emerges, which I dress and equip like an avatar. In this series, East meets West, old meets modern, reality meets fiction, creating a new narrative.
In his photographic and installation works, Steve Braun uses a pictorial symbolic language borrowed from ethnographic, ideological, or religious contexts. Historically charged set pieces of cultural history become props for his dramatically staged still lifes. Detached from their usual sphere of action, the entanglement of meaning and form manifested in the symbol shifts, creating a new attribution in the recurring pictorial element. Steve Braun composes pictorial legends that point beyond the two-dimensional depiction to the object-like nature of his motifs. He drapes, arranges, constructs, and processes the objects, emphasizes their materiality, and shows them as expansive installations - blurring the distinction between sculptural exploration and photographic strategy. Steve Braun also operates across borders in his ongoing series "V-Mann." He embraces the aesthetics of punk culture by capturing scenes from his immediate environment in photographs, videos, installations, and magazines. This is less a documentation than a testimony to the times. Steve Braun does not remain in the background as an observing outsider, but appears as a genuine part of the group. The resulting works are undisguised and direct. Text: Carina Essl
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