1991

Boris

B/W photograph and offset printed postcard

Boris

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— Photograph from a larger series, taken at museums in Europe and the USA depicting historical events and people of cultural importance. Originally made as a postcard, for the artists’ graduation at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in 1991.

— Exhibited
Casco Tours, Zeedijk, Amsterdam 1991 / Vertaalde Werken Translated Works: Barbara Visser 1991-2006, Museum De Paviljoens, Almere / Depression, Marres, Maastricht, 2009


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— Since the early 1990s Barbara Visser has used photography to investigate myth making and authenticity. Her pictures often don’t come with dimensions, and the question of finished work is always a mute point. Visser is interested in doubling, reproduction and the role of the artist in the production and destruction of their own myth. Boris was first produced as a black and white postcard; the version shown in 'Depression' was made in 2006. The image is of Boris Becker, the German former tennis player and now media personality. But it is not the “real” Boris, it is a wax work version. Becker, like all celebrities, is essentially unknowable. The more we see him – the more his image is reproduced – the more opaque his “real” self becomes. Visser doesn’t merely question and destabilise the integrity and authenticity of images per se, or certain images in particular, in order to expose certain hierarchies and systems that govern representations in the media and beyond. She also questions and jeopardises the integrity of her own image making and the hierarchies and systems that authenticate it.
Text by Lisette Smits and Dan Kidner, Marres, Maastricht