Libby Leshgold Gallery

Please join us at READ Books for the launch of Camera Austria International Issue 139. This issue is guest edited by the Vancouver and Vienna-based collective Urban Subjects (Sabine Bitter, Jeff Derksen, and Helmut Weber) and presents the work of Vancouver artists and writers alongside international practitioners to take on the topic of sincerity.

The idea of sincerity may seem a bit anachronistic or out of touch with the times, as if bound to a subjectivity that we are no longer really able to maintain. Yet sincerity still continues to traverse the aesthetic and the social, and it arises in quite unsuspecting places. It is not actually necessary to broach the much-discussed subject of fake or alternative news in order to encounter the question of sincerity these days—since the 1990s it has been virulent, when the digital seemed to undermine any sense of credibility of the images, and since imagery has been marked by general suspicion. From this point on, the mechanisms for authenticating images have shifted, with their effects taking centre stage rather than the truth of that being rendered. Since then, images have not shown a sincere image, but rather performed it. In his introduction, Jeff Derksen traces the history of sincerity, while placing the artists selected for this publication in relation to this history and also in relation to one another.

The concept of sincerity compels us to consider, in its appealing simplicity but also fundamentally, our relationship to photographic images, whether they are tied into artistic practice or everyday cultural contexts: Why are we still inspired by photographs? Why do we look at them? What do we expect from them? These questions are also associated with a hope that sincerity might be able to produce, not only represent, sincere acts—that is, not only to render the image of a condition, but also to effectuate this state.

Since 1980 Camera Austria International magazine has been fostering debate on the role of photography as situated between art and mass medium, between aesthetics and social practice, between discourse and the documentary, politics and imagery. Established in 1980 by Christine Frisinghelli, Seiichi Furuya, and Manfred Willmann the bilingual (German/English) published magazine continues to occupy a special, internationally respected role in the scope of discourse on photography as a contemporary art practice.

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