Sous Les Etoiles Gallery is pleased to announce "The Lifesaving Machines," Reiner Riedler’s second solo exhibition with the gallery, featuring work from his most recent series of the same name. An opening reception will be held on Thursday, October 30, 6–8pm.
In his photographic series of historical and modern medical machinery, Reiner Riedler asks "Why do they look so human?" The project, initially inspired one late night as the artist waited alongside his newborn son in a neonatal intensive care unit, seeks to coax the beauty and mystery from objects normally viewed with clinical detachment. Here, Riedler addresses the unconscious dialogue between our lifesaving machines and their human counterparts twofold, seen in both the documentation of medicine’s evolving technologies and apparatuses, and through the intentional isolation of the machines from their place of use, highlighting each alone afront a pitch-black background.
Rather than signifying pain and discomfort, the machines are at times dazzling, as seen in the image of a laser cut glass model of a heart; powerful, as seen in the omniscient glow of a solitary monitor screen; and, perhaps most notably, humanoid, like Historical Breathing Machine, with its flop of cream-colored tubes above a “face” of radial dials and knobs.
Others, like the Artis, Dialysis Machine, are a wonder to behold, its insides—hardware, wires, tubes and buttons—exposed, and the soft glow of its screen tilted just up and away from the viewer. Riedler, describing his first reaction at the sight of such a machine revealed, writes “It looked like an altar. I asked the technician to switch on the machine just to see what would happen and it was overwhelming.”
Since 1989, the work of photographer Reiner Riedler has centered on human beings and their environment. The main focus of his documentary work is to challenge our value systems. His recent conceptual works deal with themes of transience, crises and death.
Reiner Riedler lives and works in Vienna, Austria. His work has been exhibited internationally at leading institutions such as the Centre George Pompidou (Paris, France), the Leopold Museum and Vienna Künstlerhaus (Vienna, Austria), Sirius Art Center (Cork, Ireland), The Deutsche Kinemathek (Berlin), and the International Festival of Photography (Lodz, Poland). His photographs have been published in National Geographic, Stern, The New York Times, British Journal of Photography, Newsweek Japan, WIRED, Monopol, Fortune, Le Monde, and Der Spiegel, among many others.