The human being plays a central role in all my work, but without being visible. In Rimini: as the intruder in nature who stages, composes and causes disturbance. These themes are continued in Stand-Orte (Stand-Point) in which just a residue of people remains: what they leave behind, their rejected objects, and their injury.

In "Der Stand der Dinge" (The Way Things Stand), a portfolio consisting of three parts, I have tried to come even closer, to an almost intimate proximity, to the person without showing him.

While I show several private flats In Grüne Heimat (Verdant Homeland), I mainly concentrate on the plant as the most manifest expression of an inner movement – of preservation, on the one hand, and destruction on the other. My interest lies in how people deal with things and the relationship that suddenly emerges between them – the state between an unconscious mise en scène and coincidence. Various materials, structures, textures and colours interact and separate. In the formal sense, it is a question of tension and ease.

Grüne Heimat is also a visual interaction between “Nature” and “referenced Nature” as seen in wall paper, textiles, furniture... a Nature that is implanted in interiors – “civilised” Nature, ordered Nature, protected Nature, and Nature as a model for education. Is it perhaps a model for an intact world, or a yearning for the ideal circumstances for existence? Which questions terms like homeliness, the homeland as refuge, and security.

In Mittagsportraits (Midday Portraits) I show dining tables in various homes set for a meal. The choice of food or the arrangement of things is in keeping with the habits of the respective residents. Aspects of their individuality and their intimacy thus become visible. The still life is therefore a portrait of either one or several people. While the arrangement and the choice of things is like elements of a ritual, the table abstracted to a landscape, the concrete definition of the objects that become assigned to a particular person are the themes in the work. The colours are those of intimacy, of an introversion and sensitivity within an order.

In Public Intimity I leave the private area in search of intimacy in work environments and educational institutions or in public spaces, where security and comfort become visible in the individual forms of order. It is perhaps an unconscious “art of the commonplace”: setting up of signals, the inner world of colours and things, territorial delimitation of the other. Herein lies the meaning of ‘making a mental picture’ of something, or what the picture that we make signifies. This means: seemingly possible definitions of the inner and the outer life of things in their respective contexts. It also means the relationship between reality and illusion, establishing illusions, the delusion of an imagined identity, a reconstructed reality. Strange visual contexts often emerge, even comic details, but often also void spaces, disorientation and dejectedness (no place for consolation), as well as those of fear and hesitation, of indecision.

As an “epilogue” I am juxtaposing this trilogy with my first ever self-made photographs. Eine weitere schwere Reise nach Hause. Die Ersten Bilder (Another tedious journey home. The first pictures) is a portfolio about the carefree view of a child. The experienced world is made visible alongside the things that were important at the moment. Their individual significance is displayed like a new toy: photography here is like a child’s drawing, the expression of an inner emotion.

Der Stand der Dinge is a visual piece about the language of worn out commonplace and rejected intimacy which, as a consequence is no longer consciously perceived. It is about determining the location of the habitually perceived.

The subject of Der Stand der Dinge is Austria, about the connection between outward appearances and inner values, about an identity in this country formed through the way of life, about the way things stand, about the people behind it all. In no way is it intended to be a report on social conditions, nor shall it make any claims on comprehensiveness.

Der Stand der Dinge is a formal piece about the coincidence, or determination of colour, line, space and surface, about the nature of materials that attract or repel each other. The way things are located in relation to each other or against each other is decisive for the choice of location for my camera.

Photographing here is like the search for a signifier of identity, of ostensible security, but always for reinstating a memory.

Robert F. Hammerstiel, Vienna 1991