Peles Empire

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Peles Empire
Formation 1, 2013
Digital print on paper
275 x 440 cm

Peles Empire is a collaborative artistic project consisting of two artists, Katharina Stöver and Barbara Wolff, whose work takes its consistent source (and name) from a single site: a lavish nineteenth century castle in Romania.
For Formation, the artists used the Grand Armoury in Peles Castle as their original source; the shining metallic surfaces of the armour, as well as the room’s distinctive chessboard floor, can be discerned, but only just. The image itself is never fully disclosed: as though seen through the flickering glitches of a corrupted image file, the armoury appears only in glimpses, its spatial depth reduced to an abstracted flatness. By inverting the armoury’s threedimensional space – best represented in its patterned floor, like the recessive pattern of a Renaissance painting – the images return the live experience of an historical space to the mediated one of contemporary visual overload.

Peles Empire
Formation 7, 2013
Digital print on paper
275 x 440 cm

This, then, is the past seen in terms of the present. The images – Formation 1 and 7 – are digital prints, blown up to an almost architectural scale; by doing so, that tension between spatial occupations – actual and imagined – is charged with energy. Our struggling to make the image cohere parallels what we do with our idea of the past: we strain to make it click. Confronted with images that taunt us with potential completion, our experience is both distant and close, removed and teasingly intimate.

Text by Ben Street


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