Nicky Ginsberg warmly welcomes the fantastical photographs of Anke Stäcker’s to Kensington Contemporary. ‘Other Worlds’ traces a narrative of discovery through the cinematographic staging of dolls and found objects in dreamlike scenes of exploration. Throughout this series, Stäcker’s narrative of innocence observes three dolls journeying through a dystopian fantasy scenescape that often hints at distorted parallels to the viewer’s own reality. The precarious world that the artist constructs is an imagined projection of the result of human neglect upon the environment.
In recent years, Anke’s ouevre has been centred around the construction of dioramas with dolls, toys, found or fabricated objects and bits of nature which she then photographs. She regards these scenes as miniature film sets where the dolls play out a particular narrative, based on Stäcker’s personal history and preoccupations. She has applied this method to her investigations into her own childhood memories of post-war Germany.
Whilst Stäcker takes a vastly different approach to narrative in her ‘Other Worlds’ series to her historically referential photographs, telltale signs of her roots emerge. Anke’s reference to Die Blaue Blue, or the blue flower, presents the German Romantic symbol as a yearning for some elusive manifestation of hope for change.
Through the use of self-referential plastic play-things, Anke cleverly composes a visual elegy to the earth’s non-renewable resources. The artist subverts the association of dolls with innocence and juvenility to criticize what she observes as a flippant disregard for the redundance of the toxic plastics with which the earth has become littered.
Stäcker attributes much of her imagery in this series to Margaret Atwood’s dystopian trilogy ‘Oryx and Crake’, ‘The Year of the Flood’ and ‘Maddaddam’, where human life has ended due to a man-made pandemic, where only a few survivors are left. Anke taps into Atwood’s particular narrative of three women and their will to survive in a harsh world. It is a story of friendship between girls that grow into women, whose bond fosters hope, against all odds.
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