"My father was a rock star"
With Jessie Bullivant
Two points in history to consider:
• The Bauhaus operated as an experimental art school in Germany in the years between the first and second world wars.
• After forty-five years of communist rule the borders to East Germany were re-opened in 1990.
My father was a rock star examines the relationship between divergent moments in history: Johannes Itten’s 1930s Bauhaus colour theory, the fall of the Berlin Wall, youth protest movements and an unknown German heavy metal band.
Formed as an installation of scanned, digitally altered and re-printed photographs alongside over-painted found photographs, My father was a Rock Star is the result of a two-year enquiry into an abandoned archive of analogue photographs purchased in the East German city of Leipzig. How the box of photographs ended up in the junk shop is unknown, however some clues do exist: a meticulous numbering system on the verso of each image indicating cataloguing, the same people re-appearing in photographs, the same subject matter and on each photograph there is the date stamped: 1989, 1990 and 1991, the exact time that the great project of the twentieth century, Communism, failed.
Using Johannes Itten’s The Elements of Colour, developed when Itten was teaching in the Bauhaus, the original found photographs have been over-painted with abstractions. Prior to being over-painted each photograph was scanned, digitally altered and then re-printed. Groupings of the over-painted analogue photographs are shown alongside a grouping of the new digital prints.