Esther Shalev-Gerz — Der Letzte Klick / The Last Click


Photography, sculpture, video

Esther Shalev-Gerz
Der Letzte Klick / The Last Click

Past: December 10, 2010 → January 23, 2011

Commissioned in 2010 by the Museum for Photography of Brunswick, Germany, Shalev-Gerz has responded to the city’s status as the centre of production of the revered brand of cameras: Rollei. The Last Click reflects the shift in production and consumption from analogue to digital cameras. With the various elements of her artwork, the artist focuses on what has been a long-serving agent in the construction of memory and the depiction of time.

The idea of the project is to show two situations: on the one hand, the artist visited the Rollei factories which are being drained of human and mechanical presence; and on the other hand she invited the people who wanted to dispose of their camera to share the stories about the camera and reflect on its last image.

Twenty-five persons accepted to participate in the project. Esther Shalev-Gerz edited these encounters into a video that creates a collective phenomenon out of individual stories. As well, the video captures small poetic gestures: the way these cameras are picked up, opened, closed and operated.

In the Rollei factory, the artist stages an old Rolleiflex camera as a character; in her images, the Rollei teeters on the long legs of its tripod through the workshops and, panning its head, acknowledges the emptiness it comes across. Arranged in sequences, the images appear to be film stills—but they are single photographs; the only thing moving in the images is the wandering camera. Not only the “visitor” but also the camera capturing its visit are Rolleiflex, but the last one is equipped with a digital back. The high photographic quality of these “film images” has something to do with it.

On the street outside the Museum, one can hear the clicks of the participant’s cameras but without being able to see them.

Museum for Photography, Brunswick, Germany Museum
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The artist