Ryan Chesla Headshot
Photograph courtesy of Jenna James.

Ryan Chesla (°1971, Munich, Germany) makes photos and mixed media artworks. By rejecting an objective truth and global cultural narratives, Chesla absorbs the tradition of remembrance art into daily practice. This personal follow-up and revival of a past tradition is important as an act of meditation.

His collected, altered and own photos are being confronted as aesthetically resilient, thematically interrelated material for memory and projection. The possible seems true and the truth exists, but it has many faces, as Hanna Arendt cites from Franz Kafka. By using popular themes such as sexuality, family structure and violence, he creates with daily, recognizable elements, an unprecedented situation in which the viewer is confronted with the conditioning of his own perception and has to reconsider his biased position.

His works often refers to pop and mass culture. Using written and drawn symbols, a world where light-heartedness rules and where rules are undermined is created. By contesting the division between the realm of memory and the realm of experience, he touches various overlapping themes and strategies. Several reoccurring subject matter can be recognized, such as the relation with popular culture and media, working with repetition, provocation and the investigation of the process of expectations.

His work urges us to renegotiate photography as being part of a reactive or – at times – autistic medium, commenting on oppressing themes in our contemporary society. Ryan Chesla currently lives and works in Palm Springs.

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