The artist Martin Dammann addresses a highly emotional and topical issue, i.e. the interplay between war, media coverage and its impact on our perception. Original photos and footage from around WWI. to the Kosovo conflict and the standard methods of modern warfare form the basis of the large-size water-colour paintings, video works and photo series. The artist draws inspiration and material from his work for the London-based Archives of Modern Conflict as he has been in charge of acquiring photos for the collection specialising in private war photography for some years. The artist cautiously approaches the medium of photography and deprives the brief moment in which the photo was taken of any claim to reality by transforming it with the “soft“ technique of watercolour painting. This allows the onlooker to engage in a novel, subjective play of interpretation. As Dammann transforms them into different media the onlooker is confronted with two semantic fields: the individual, personal on the one hand and the general powerful impact of images and historiography on the other hand. The subject highlighted is the changed perception of reality due to the growing influence of mass-mediasation on our personal attitudes and values. All works have to do with dissolution, penetration and disappearance and are linked by the longing for reaching a point of reality in the images that is outside themselves, a point that seems to gradually move away.
Martin Dammann works have been on view at Documenta X and Werkleitz Biennale (1997), at Museum Folkwang, Essen (2001) and at Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, Berlin (2002). In 2009, he had a solo show (‘Fremde Freunde’) at Kunsthalle Recklinghausen, Germany, in which occasion a comprehensive catalogue was published. Also this year, Dammann participated in the 53rd Venice Bienal by presenting works from his series ‚Soldier Studies’ at The Fear Society, Pabellón de la Urgencia.