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Borrowed Light

Talents 37 . Bianca Pedrina / Larissa Kikol

White cube, framed photographs, lighting, image title, wall text – and the classic standard exhibition is done! But how does a presentation take shape when the location itself is the subject of the exhibited photographs? If the room is not only the frame but rather the content and artwork at the same time? Bianca Pedrina conceptualized an exhibition just for the Amerika Haus and experimented with the characteristics of the building. She brings out concealed levels, moves hidden elements to the foreground and enlarges building details into over-dimensional installations. In this way, her intervention expands the real space and eloquently blends in with the exhibition hall. Her images are room modules – sometimes in relatively easy-to-miss sizes, sometimes as large, life-size cut-outs of them. She breaks through the guided view of the visitors with this playful doubling and these photographic reflections to enable a perception beyond the surface, a look into the physical matrix of an exhibition space.

Bianca Pedrina’s focus does not rest on the architectural highlights or on a critique of stylistic trends. Instead she presents unspectacular details – blank walls, banal interstices, floor rows or typical cracks in the dry wall. The deep vestiges of human lives, however, often reside in overlooked and seemingly empty spaces. Humans are never so present anywhere else as they are in their actions and their creations. In Bianca Pedrina‘s architectural nude photography, an erotic exposure with intimate blemishes emerges. Instead of stasis, façade and the art of building, she traces the connective tissue of the material. In a world that counts sleekness among the most essential ideals of beauty, this intimate architectural photography offers an organic antithesis without the need for the emergence of real life.


Her motifs reveal what architecture really wants to conceal. They portray the demystification of the art of building and the inevitability that becomes apparent in tedious details. But in no way is the bold fashion of street art photography intended to discover torn posters on building walls or faded graffiti tags as a supposedly cool motif. The opposite of street art or glorified architectural photography is portrayed: Not just uniqueness but rather similarity and often selected with the disappointing traces of normal wear and tear. More than merely the personality of the individual is pursued – rather the traces that deny human individuality and reveal wear caused by people as well.

Bianca Pedrinas‘ works function like a encyclopedia entry, as they never depict something real, but rather only refer to something of overriding importance. She interprets extended photography, the topic of this year‘s talent series, through the objective use of photography as a tool for the transfer of ideas. Bianca Pedrina resides in the tradition of concrete art with her radical negation of the individual and of subjective emotions. At the same time, the single frame is not what‘s decisive, but more its meaning in the immediate surroundings. As such, she aligns herself with the tradition of minimal art, for which the singular work does not constitute the work, but rather the exhibition itself.

Bianca Pedrina, born in 1985, studied at the Bern University of the Arts, completing her Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2009. From 2010 to 2011, she attended the Städelschule in Frankfurt, where she studied under Professor Judith Hopf. She was invited to participate in an artist residency at the Cité des Arts in Paris. She has been organizing exhibitions since 2009 and has been co-director of the Art Basel Project Space “Scharzwaldallee” since 2014. She received an award for her artistic work from the Cristina Spoerri Foundation in 2015. Bianca Pedrina lives in Vienna and Basel.

Larissa Kikol, born in 1986, studied fine arts at the Berlin Weissensee School of Art and is currently completing post-doctoral work in art history and media theory at the Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe. Her dissertation deals with childish play in modern and contemporary art . She is working as an adjunct instructor at colleges and universities in Karlsruhe und Berlin. She writes as a freelance journalist and art critic for publications including art – Das Kunstmagazin , DIE ZEIT, mare, Cicero, and De Nieuwe. Larissa Kikol lives in Berlin.