Transistor Magazine # 1

Natascha Borowsky’s photographs move at the boundary between lyrical description and documentation. Before using the camera, the artist assembles a growing collection of objects of various origin. She collects natural objects such as small balls of dried grass, a Canadian horsetail, or a Chinese plum, as well as pieces of styrofoam or used soap. These samples are then portrayed while positioned on backgrounds created specifically for each chosen object, corresponding with it and held in extremely reduced colors. Other possible backgrounds are extracted from the artist’s extensive collection of brocade, fur, foil, plastic film, fabric, and the like.

Natascha Borowsky’s pictorial language, her manner of presenting the object trouvé, is reduced and concentrates the viewer’s gaze. The images raise questions about the scale, origin, and classification of the depicted forms. The representational images are disconcerting, because they may appear quite abstract on second glance. The photographs well transport the artist’s fascination with objects. She selects her objects carefully and arranges them on the backgrounds after numerous studies.

Jeff Wall’s newer works, too, display interest in carelessly discarded items of everyday life. But he leaves the small aluminum dish with its unfinished meal or the branch in the street where he finds them, while Natascha Borowsky integrates her things in a new context, removed from specific location and time. And that shows a proximity to another photographer. In January 2001, Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur (the photographic collection of the SK foundation and the August Sander archive) in Cologne made the remarkable experiment of confronting Natascha Borowsky’s photographs with the scientific photos by Karl Blossfeldt (1865-1932). This clearly revealed the meticulous precision and accurate observation of both artists. While Blossfeldt stressed the graphic character of the plants he photographed in black and white (in order to teach his sculpture students about the forms of nature) Natascha Borowsky is more interested in the juxtaposition of form and background and – most obviously – in color as a further means of description and interpretation. The radical decontextualizing of her objects and their inclusion in new contexts create a space of association that proves that the artist’s interest is not in documentary reproduction, but in a reality inherent in the images themselves.

Dr. Rupert Pfab, art historian
“Transistor Magazine # 1, Ein Deutsch/Niederländischer Dialog”, a magazine documenting the program and events of the German-Dutch project “Transistor” of 1 Sept. 2001 – 1 Sept. 2002, published by the Derik-Baegert-Gesellschaft e.V., Ringenberg Castle, Hamminkeln