intermedial exhibition project by the hgb // 30.01. - 13.02.2009

Tina Bara & Alba D'Urbano


installation: rack, drawing, ring binder

The Covergirl project is concerned with the assigned meanings of photographic images, the circumstances of their circulation, reception and context in connection with the social systems of politics and art; as well as with memories and the reconstruction of history, the past and the present.

The point of departure, respectively the objects of investigation, of this, to a certain degree essentially biographically motivated work, are two b/w 35mm negative films from the year 1983 that were taken in a landscape in Mecklenburg, and a publication from 2007, which was created in collaboration with the Museum of Contemporary Art Leipzig and the Spanish artist Dora Garcia.  

The cover of this publication shows a picture that is based on a nude photograph of Tina Bara with a black bar across her eyes together with the text BStU-Kopie MfS HA XX/Fo/689 Bild 9. In the first chapter of the artist book, and as a framed picture in the context of a gallery, the image appears in a context with other pictures of a group of young women which was relevant enough to fill several files in the mounting archives of the Ministry for State Security – the control system of the GDR.. "Wespen" ("Wasps") was the code name for an operational procedure that focused on the group "Frauen für den Frieden" ("Women for Peace") – an oppositional left-wing group in the GDR that was directed against growing militarism in their country that also permeated civil life, and the armament that was part of the Cold War.   

The installation Annunciation reconstructs in an associative form the moment when Alba D'Urbano - unknowingly - encountered a convolute of images held by the Ministry for State Security. Furthermore, the transformation of the (exemplary) "cover image" from a keepsake photograph to a piece of art is brought into focus by Alba D'Urbano's drawings. These consolidate a further appropriation of the "portrait" of Tina Bara which had been used by Dora Garcia. In turn, these portraits become part of an installation that locates the formerly private image in the context of archives, while their function remains unclear. Shelf parts and folders seem to be torn out of context. Besides these drawings and a text, the folders are filled with blank papers – projection surfaces for the millions of photographs, texts, and data that had been fed into the surveillance system as substantial information about forces "working against the state". In a kind of poetically charged protocolary analysis, the text by Alba D'Urbano describes her first encounter with the photographs at the Museum of Contemporary Art Leipzig.