Aquamarine - Lyrical views of the digital world by Anne Backhaus

We live in a digital age. In photography, digitalization has also lead to democratisation. The vast majority of people carry a cell phone camera with them all the time. Every day, millions of photos are made, shared on the internet, displayed on screens and viewed on monitors. We take or make an image, maybe put a filter over it, watch it get likes, and move on to the next one. We consume the works of others, rapidly clicking through profile pictures, photo galleries and news sections. We have become so accustomed to the ubiquity of photographs that we rarely look at them in much detail. We have seen almost everything already, and we can easily be present anywhere via our devices.

Cameraman Anatoly Rudakov has portrayed the world in all its facets for decades. For TV documentaries, he has traveled to remote areas, narrating stories with his recordings. In "Aquamarine", he now breaks with everything that was important in his previous work and creates a new narrative life — which means a reversal of the permanent availability of the flood of digital images, without artificially distancing himself from it.

Rudakov has his photographs interlaced on a framed flat screen in a finely tuned rhythm. "60 pictures in 60 minutes" is reminiscent of a painting, but is not a classical exhibition piece. The video installation takes time for itself. Time that digital art works in particular hardly ever get. In order to understand this video installation, it takes time. They do not spend so much time. And few people frame such video works. The artist brings to the museum what is theoretically found everywhere — but he does this in such an unusual way that it challenges the digital image itself and our perception of the digital image. Rudakov composes unmoving pictures of moving pictures. His fine-tuned photo sequences form a work of art, one which, in the individual details, points to a larger whole. Each image conveys an individual mood for itself. The image change leads through these dense atmospheres like waves, which gently wash a beach in their own rhythm. It is not without reason that Rudakov deals with the topic of water in his work. Water in motion, and in different colors, landscapes, and moods. In rivers, in the sea and in lakes. On the Côte d'Azur, in Moscow as well as in Bavaria. Ultimately, the water in us, human beings. It is nothing less than the foundation of our existence, a notion Rudakov addresses in his work.

Rudakov made the recordings on his journeys over the past five years. He uses a special technique to break with photography as a means of concrete fixation. With the "Intentional Camera Movement" (ICM), Rudakov deliberately refrains from sharp shots, and his movements and the surroundings are transferred to his photographs. They, like their theme, seem to always flow, and remain uncontrollable. Rudakov represents reality as if it were reflected on a surface of water. The viewer lingers before this reflection — the framed blur on the big screen makes invites the viewer to look more closely, to pause and, in turn, to reflect.

The artist experimented for over a year on the project, searching for the right way to tie up his images toshow at the same time to separate one image from another. Finally, he had a special computer program written, so that a fascinating effect accompanied the change of the water photographs. In his video collage, one shot triggers the other by flowing from the top of the screen, the colors of the following photo overlapping the previous one, entering into the image and superimposing it abstractly. The transitions between the images are always puzzles. The forms of the new image gradually materialize out of the stream. It is as if the flat screen itself had become wet canvas, as if it might run down and reveal a new work of art.

The aesthetics of Rudakov's digital flood of images becomes more clearly manifested with every new photograph. From the many different viewing angles and moods of the 60 pictures, there arises an intoxicating overall composition. They are lyrical images that make us feel something, rather than simply look at an object on display. They enable us to tell a story together — a story that can only be discovered for ourselves A story that tells of both the individual and of us all.