At Artpace, Joachim Koester presents a new suite of photographs, Northwood and Other Locations, shot in Texas, installed in an architecturally specific manner. The viewer enters a darkened gallery, facing an unfinished wall in front of a blue glow. Koester’s five photographs are displayed on shelves on the opposite side of the wall, facing a bank of windows that has been tinted with a blue-gray gel. Lit only by the filtered daylight, the windows create a false sense of night, which evokes cinematic conceits. The photographs are sequenced on the shelves implying a modular, temporary system. The subjects of the images imply a minimal narrative, maintaining a sense of ambiguity with regard to time and space.
This manipulation of the viewer’s experience in the space creates a platform for their participation in a construction of a theme. The installation suggests the ways narrative can be changed through environment. The new work expands Koester’s interest in transformation—specifically, the transition of sites and narratives.
Although keenly interested in the cinematic narrative, Koester’s Texas work does not emerge from the iconic Western genre of filmmaking. And while previous works have examined specific cultural and geographic events related to exploration and politics, here, Koester avoids a direct historical reference. Rather, Koester evokes the ghosted narrative of the West, where a spirit of expectation—the frontier—is constructed through shifting environments and emotional states.