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.
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