The series “Ways of Seeing, Ways of Aging” (2013)—photographic portraits of plaster copies of classical sculptures from the Zurich University collection—seems to have been inspired by the title of John Berger’s illustrated Marxist-feminist critique of images Ways of Seeing (1972). Berger shows how women have been quite literally captured by artists, photographers, advertisers and art historians, while Westermeier offers up images of sculptures of men only. The artist’s choice perhaps suggests that the sculptures and their copies have allowed the men to persist across centuries with an unabashed vanity of eternal youth. No wrinkles, just a bit of plaster dust. Westermeier adds another palpable sense of time and space, beyond the ancient history evoked by the sculptures themselves and beyond the immediacy of the camera shutter’s rapid blink. This extra time-space lies in the photograph’s materiality, reproduction and framing. While the photographs are digital, they have not been manipulated. Using an inkjet printer, the artist reproduced each likeness many times over on the same paper, albeit slightly displaced, which leads to distortions in our perception of the photograph’s depth. The ink cartridge happened to be almost empty, leading to a random tonal range for each print. The pale whiteness of the sculptures seems to be stained with translucent colors, which illuminate the images in the chaotic way that the Aurora Borealis can redraw a Nordic night sky without shifting a single star in the universe: another depth, shimmering, alive. Westermeier chose to display the series in two continuous groups, each set inside a large, free-standing frame, which allows viewers to see the images as if they were sculptures, moving all around them. Instead giving us the frozen instant, the artist gives the printing process a memory, a durational blur of time whizzing by, if not the cinematic feel of a flipbook, albeit printed on a single page. And instead of offering a perfect copy of a past that would deny the passage of time, he makes each copy tremble, slightly yet oh-so-visibly and shadily, as if the sculptures were trying to remember what they looked like. As if they were indeed centuriesold men, searching in their mental archives, going back and forth between black-and-white and living color. Between remembering photographs and remembering moments. 

Jennifer Allen, 2014

oak frame 40x220 cm, glass, 18 inkjet prints, different sizes. steel, each structure 240x50 cm, MDP palte/frame holder, 2013

Installation view "Ways of seeing, ways of aging", OFFSPRING 2013, de Ateliers,
Single images “Ways of seeing, ways of aging”