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Laura J. padgett
Experimental film, Found footage | 16mm | color and b&w | 2'19'' | USA / Germany | 2017
We see Max Horkheimer buying newspapers, we hear Hannah Arendt speaking about the mother tongue and making the invisible tangible. We also see Frankfurt am Main during the great (re)construction boom of the 1960s. We see demonstrations on the Römerberg and the presence of the American Forces in the Federal Republic of Germany during the cold war as well as scenes after the apprehension of members of the Red Army Faction. Housing shortages, urban development, youth and their future, guest workers, consumer society: these topics are repeatedly presented and discussed in the Hessen Schau news program from this period. The film deals with the concept of democracy, of having a voice and the contiguity between private and public space. These boundaries, which are in the process of dissolving, are made clear the storytelling in this film as fundamental strands of our social being. Laura J. Padgett’s found footage film SOLITAIRE is made from documentary film material and radio broadcasts of the late 1950s until 1972. It was culled exclusively from the Hessian Broadcasting Corporation’s (hr) archives.
The artist’s work explores unoccupied spaces, both real and imaginary, to reveal truths that are often overlooked. Like her subject, her work itself occupies the spaces between photographic storytelling and installation, between language and image, between history and current affairs. While she uses photographic media the results are always more than photographic objects. Since the nineties Padgett has produced a wide-ranging body of work, adopting various genres such as architectural photography, still life and urban street photography while exploring our ideas of communal and cultural identity. Laura J. Padgett’s work is often displayed in public spaces and plays with scale, material and the way we interpret images and their relation to history. The breadth of her work demonstrates an ability to move fluidly between genres, based on her background in painting, art history and architecture. Born in Cambridge, USA, Laura J. Padgett studied painting, film and photography at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn New York. Her conceptual approach to her projects stems from this background. Her further studies in film and art history, with Peter Kubelka at the Städelschule and at the Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main, respectively, broadened her approach. Laura J. Padgett exhibits internationally, and her work can be found in state and corporate collections such as the DZ-Bank ArtCollection, Frankfurt am Main. Her work is in the permanent collections of Museo Museion, Bolzano, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, Museum Wiesbaden and the Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main. She is the 2017 recipient of the Marielies-Hess-Art Award. Laura J. Padgett lives and works in Frankfurt am Main.