Dominique Teufen

flashlight sculptures

Photography 2013

The series flashlight sculptures shows installations of mirror cubes, -plates and –pyramids that are positioned and staged in a corner. There are no lights coming neither from the outside nor from the surroundings of my studio. In this darkness, the camera is placed exactly in the middle in front of the mirror installation. Pressing the trigger button, the flashlight goes of and the mirrors reflect the flashlight of the camera onto the surrounding walls. These lights then resonate back onto the mirroring surfaces and connect the perspective forms and lines into an illusion. In that moment the real is pushed into the background and the flashlight sculpture visualizes itself. Made by the camera, hardly grasped by the eye and only captured by the camera, photography
becomes the only witness of the flashlight sculptures existence.

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Ansichten - Gespiegeltes Licht ins Bild gebannt
Kunstbulletin 5/2014

Text by Katharina Ammann,
Dr. med. phil. Head of Department Art History and member of the institute's management, SIK-ISEA

"In her flashlight sculptures, Dominique Teufen experiments with the photographic medium and shifts the instant décisif from the photographer's keen eye to the specific characteristics of the apparatus. At the moment of taking pictures, a new reality is created.

The fact that art emerges in the eye of the beholder or observer is only partially true in Teufen's flashlight sculptures. At first glance, the plastic structures made of glass and mirrors do not do much: Square and round panels are built vertically and horizontally. It is only in the moment of taking pictures that the complex forms emerge. The flash breaks countless times, the overlapping play of the entrance and exit angles folds the basic structure like an immaterial Rorschachfleck symmetrically. But even in the knowledge of the mechanisms of reflection, it is not possible to deduce all the light reflections and shadows cast. One believes to look through the cube shapes on the wall behind it, see depths and escapes, where there are none.

The concept of the decisive moment coined by Cartier-Bresson here experiences a change of meaning. Although the moment of release plays a key role in Teufen’s image generation, but it is irrelevant whether it shuts off five minutes sooner or later. Her research into the effects and properties of the medium, such as how light leads to form, testifies to a decidedly artistic attitude.
Teufen's basis is sculpture and material experiments make up an important part of her work. With the specific use of photography, she not only examines the field of tension between two- and three-dimensionality, but also that between identity and difference. The flashlight sculptures speak the supercooled imagery of a digitally rendered model; the real tinkered reveals itself at best by the wooden table legs as well as the smallest displacements in the symmetry. The uncertainty on which impression or reality we want to rely on remains characteristic of our virtual age.”