'Bildnis'* is a still-life series of abstract self-portraits by Johnny Mae Hauser about the discovery of oneself through emotional memory and its connection to everyday objects. The series began to take shape in London, back in January 2019, where Hauser reexperienced feelings of invisibility. What started as a visual expression of the ineffable turned into a collection of blurred photographs. It is in each of these photographs that Hauser portrays a singular object as if she painted them from within. These never—entirely—sharpened images are a way for the artist to emphasise the sensitivity rooted in every single one of us, and may also remind the viewer of some distant memory. It is the task of blurring to make inner images visible, to suggest a transition between reality and nothingness or some dreamlike in-between. With this, Hauser questions the medium of photography and its sharpness. And invites the viewer to fill in the blanks beyond the visible.
*Bildnis is a German translation for portrait and/or image; the depiction of a specific person.
Johnny Mae Hauser is a Dutch-German fine-artist known for her sensitive ways of capturing the obscure existence of human emotion. An incomprehensible stillness can be found in her current works, which are recognisable by their soft and, at times, cool colour schemes. It is through Hauser’s poetic use of colour and the anonymous qualities of her imagery where themes such as introspection, isolation and (emotional) intimacy unite. The resulting compositions represent a dialogue between the inner world of the artist and the viewer—without being intrusive to the viewer. With this, Hauser challenges us to see past the traditional ways of looking at photography and shifts the focus from what we see to what it is that we are feeling and therefore experiencing.