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Hans Gindlesberger

Artist Statement: 

I’m in the Wrong Film


I’m in the Wrong Film is a consideration of our troubled relationship to the places we belong. The title of the series is a colloquialism used to indicate a speaker’s disorientation in regard to physical surroundings that have taken on a disconcerting, fictitious quality. In this series of staged and performative photographs, the experience of individual dislocation the phrase describes is applied more broadly, in articulating the collective loss of identity that permeates the rural and post-industrial landscape of America. 


Presented as a constellation of narrative fragments, each photograph manifests the shared psychology between a transient character and constructed environments suggestive of Middle America. The character, wandering amid scenes with alternating senses of desire and reticent detachment, is an extension of a place no longer able to sustain itself. The photographs continually revisit transitory situations, in which the agency of the character is called into question. His impotence and perpetual immobility mirror the circumstance of the small town, which, after being used politically, socially, and aesthetically in defining a national image and identity, is now subject to an erasure precipitated by neglect. Whether by accepting and naturalizing the trends of decline or attempting to salvage viability through a nostalgic commodification of their past, these communities succumb to an estrangement from their own history and sense of themselves.


A corollary to this rupture can be found in the physical construction of the photographic tableau. In acknowledging their artifice, the images allow for the potential to come undone, thereby creating a tenuous space for the character to traverse. The suggestion that the character’s surroundings are prone to physically collapse upon him opens another, more literal, point of access to the sensation of being “in the wrong film.” In doing this, the work references the mechanics of the theater and silent film, wherein the set décor foregrounds the actor’s performance, providing visual context while also establishing a physical distance and psychological separation. This implicates not only the narrative content, but also the fallibility of the structure and materiality of the photographic stage as synchronous sources of the character’s psychological condition. 


In addressing their failure, by revealing each element of the image to be ineffectual, the photographs advance their critique. The social narrative of the small town, the lack of agency in the character’s performance, and the faltering construction of the image compound upon one another in describing both the instinctive desire and the relative absurdity in attempting to recover a sense of belonging in a time of dislocation. 




Hans Gindlesberger’s practice examines the ways we are a part of, and apart from, the places we belong. His projects span photography, video, and installation and have been exhibited widely in exhibitions, festivals, and screenings. He is the recipient of national and international awards and grants, including a 2008 Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) and is a 2011 recipient of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Mary L. Nohl Fellowship. He earned his MFA in Photography from the State University of New York at Buffalo and currently holds the position of Area Head of Photography at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee.


Hans has presented his work in solo exhibitions at Galleri Image (Denmark), Gallery 44 (Toronto), CEPA (Buffalo), and Foundry Art Centre (St. Louis), among others and in group shows at Jen Bekman Projects (New York), 516 ARTS (Albuquerque), Humble Arts Foundation (New York), Kunstvlaai 6 (Amsterdam), Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center (Buffalo), IHC Platform (University of California Santa Barbara), and Richmond Art Center (Western Michigan University). Additionally, his video work has been exhibited and screened at the Fonlad Digital Arts Festival (Portugal), GIGUK Video Art Festival (Germany), the Detroit International Film/Video Festival (Detroit), and Streaming Festival – ISFTH Foundation for Audiovisual Art (Netherlands). 

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