Given the game of dice, as complex as it may be, continues forever, it could be shown that each of the results will necessarily re-occur at some point in the future... We believe in Eternal Recurrence, the concept first explicated in Indian philosophy, picked up in ancient Egypt, subsequently taken up by the Greeks, after a long disuse recovered by Nietzsche to be high kicked across the field of space and time to us here and now. But how can we wait forever? -- for our lived-through experiences to naturally reproduce in exact same scenario. In sync with the world in flux, Scorpios 2016 is bound to be something different and perhaps significantly so -- with updates around the restaurant, upgrades to the beach, novelties in the bar, surprise vibes on the dance floor... Also on the personal level, which prompts us to introduce, one by one in no particular order, people working behind the scene who contributed to the project Scorpios 2015, making it possible, turning early days uncertainties into accomplishments. Now it's a history. Regardless when and whether it repeats itself, they are part of it -- of its foundational and most strenuous moment -- and will always be. Unceasingly, invariably, in perpetuum...
With so many photographers out there with skills substituted and virtually eradicated by fully-automatic gadgetry, it is harder than ever to stand your own ground, to believe in your own vision, to listen to and hear your own voice. But somehow, paradoxically, it's not a huge issue for Carolin Saage, if at all. Caro's artistic self-confidence and the quality of her work obtains largely from her being in the right place at the right time. It's not that she is making much of an effort, however. The opposite is more true: it's the situations that find and enfold her. In their grip, she lets the circumstances consume her, in one gulp. While being digested, she pulls out her camera and takes snapshots of their seething entrails.
Although often vibrating with saturated colors, Saage's output is anything but fictional. She is puzzled even when her photography is perceived and commented as "artistic". It's not. It's her instinctive way of encountering and registering reality which in some cases happens to be aesthetically charged, grotesque or unreal. This is the story behind her "25/7" book, 208-pager photographic volume entirely dedicated to Bar25, the legendary party playground in Berlin. "Whoever Can Remember Was Not There" -- runs its epigraph. Saage is one of so many, in the first row considering the level of her involvement, who would have no recollections whatsoever. 7 years of total amnesia... But for the fact she never went to Bar25 without her camera! Also to the benefit of other minds, otherwise blank : "Without her and her brilliant eye, what would we be left with now that it’s over? A few hazy memories, here and there, but nothing of the visual kaleidoscope of people and emotions which her documentation manages to preserve..." -- SOSO Magazine.
One other project that found Saage, on a more serious note and most recently, is a collaboration with Vanessa Del Rae, a sex therapist -- the partnership that unveiled, in the form of "Sex Deluxe", a generously illustrated book published to worldwide acclaim and massive press attention, the topic of human sexuality in the elders. Sexuality in later life has been considered somewhat of a taboo subject, fraught with prejudices and uncertainties, an incongruity, oddity, almost aberration triggering embarrassment in conversation, let alone on exposure. But slowly, the inhibitions on the issue are caving in -- so much to Carolin Saage's credit, whose photography is so sensual and as much powerful it cracks the boulders of stereotypes.
Her work in avant-gadre fashion and cutting-edge performance art with Bird Milk aside (as well as her periodic engagements with Die Welt, Freestyle, Groove, Interview, Spiegel, to name a few), she takes her talents and "will to change" further down the road of mainstream psycho-social phenomena -- aiming at paradigm shift in mass mentality. Her recent photographic series up for exhibition and public scrutiny concerns the topic of gender identity and transgender issues visually helping to un-trap persons from their wrong bodies and so many unfortunate others -- from the gluey darkness of hostile preconceptions.
Currently the artist is on the daring exploratory journey, from the outside to the inside, probing into the multiplicity of human subjectivity, seeking to capture the space between who someone is and his or her persona. "His or her" are the keywords here with Saage's focus on the semi-private lives (as private as they get in front of the camera) of drag queens, gender-ambiguous identities. Her new project is a crossover field research involving deep intrapersonal photography and Semiotics, or, to put it into the Eternal Recurrence perspective, re-engaging Diane Arbus and Roland Barthes. Consciously or not, Saage connects to the former, the "Wizard of Odds", through her interest in The Difference ("of birth, accident, choice, belief, predilection, inertia") with eccentricities welling up out of her pictures, and to the later -- through her theoretical fascination with masks ("Mask is the meaning"). The photographer encounters the drags in public, as most of us do and where they belong as distinct cultural phenomena, and follows to observe them in private, where their exaggerated image is hot-showered down, succumbing to the demands of Monday, into mundane, prosaic normalcy. Thus exposing their real drama. And, in a sense, metaphorically -- all ours.
"Without her and her brilliant eye, what would we be left with now that it’s over?"
It is above all these works that overcome themselves most demonstratively transcending the definition of mere art and their serviceability as entertainment, promoting social values and manifesting the artist's high cultural ambitions that reveal her real inner strength and fecundity. Attuned with its overarching philosophy that exhorts "doing and being more" steering spiritual evolution, it is the meaningfulness of her oeuvre, either radical or explicit, that explains Carolin Saage's presence in the project Scorpios 2015 as non-incidental and purposeful.
Collective Memory: Carolin Saage for Scorpios / May-August 2015