contemporary art / history of art

Petra Warrass

Born 1970 in Birkenfeld, Germany, († October 2020) Petra lived and worked in Düsseldorf (Germany). First she studied visual communication with the focus on photo and film design at the Fachhochschule Dortmund (University of Applied Sciences and Arts Dortmund, Germany), then photography at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam (Netherlands). She finished her studies as master student of Joachim Brohm at the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst, Leipzig (Academy of Fine Arts, Leipzig, Germany). Since 1999, she received many grants and prizes. Besides several residence bursaries in Germany inter alia at Schloss Balmoral, Bad Ems, she worked as stipendiary in the Netherlands, China, France and Croatia. In 2016, she was granted for a residence at the CCA Andratx in Mallorca (Spain).

Petra’s photo series were represented in numerous personal and group exhibitions. Furthermore her videos were shown in Germany and Europe, inter alia in France, Poland and Spain. She frequently has teaching assignments at universities, art academies or in special art projects. Since 2015, she was lecturer at the Bergische Universität in Wuppertal (University of Wuppertal, Germany)

In her works, be that in photography or video, Petra is showing supposed everyday situations, which on closer look bear surprises and ambiguities. Characteristically are clear compositions; supposed main parts or the whole pictures are captured sharply. Nevertheless, there are often unexpected components in them. The images deprive themselves from all clarity regarding the content. They are fostering uncertainty so that beholders are thrown back to themselves to find a suitable interpretation.

For the series “Stay home” she took inside photos of apartments. Nevertheless, the arrangements of the furniture are not as expected: a table is turned upside down, the mattress of a bed is folded or a rack is hiding behind a curtain.

“Täuschung und Wahrheit” (Deception and Truth) has its conflict not only in its title. Here Petra took portraits of teenagers. The camera is not focused directly on the youngsters. They are looking into a mirror and the artist photographed their mirror image. In consequence, the images are in a high degree self-portraits, where the model takes direct self-control of the expression that should be shown.

Besides # 7, which was our artwork of the month in February 2016, other images of “Where it is” are as well ambivalent. In # 1 Cédric, the protagonist of the series, is dressed in jeans and a white pullover. His posture implies that he might be struck by something in the breast, but there is no blood. In # 9 Cédric is standing in front of a window, except he is looking from outside to the inside of an apartment.

Our artwork of the month / June 2018 comes from the series “Luciferine”. Made in 2015, the sequence is shot in gardens, often at night. Developed in black and white, Petra coloured the images manually to highlight certain parts. This gives a mysterious atmosphere to the photos.

During her residency in Andratx in 2016, she concentrated on a halfpipe. Due to the different light incidences, resulting from recordings at various day and night times, the unspectacular “Ramp” appears in an atmosphere, partly romantic in twilight and at night.

These two latest, formally so different series, were united in April/May 2018 in an exhibition at the Kuk Monschau (Germany). For the interactive project “clash // Open Studio” Petra collaborated with Julia Wenz. From December 2017 until March 2018 visitors could bring personal belongings to the Dortmunder U. wenz’n warras arranged them in front of projected photos of artworks from regional museums. The collages thus created where published in a printed edition.


Artwork of the month / February 2016

Artwork of the month / June 2018