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Shadow-man.1: Photographs by Wolfgang Hastert

MARCH 6 - JUNE 27 2004

Shadow-man.1, on view in the PMCA Classroom Gallery, is an exhibition of photographs dealing with immigration and alienation by San Diego-based filmmaker Wolfgang Hastert. Hastert has been documenting life in this country, since immigrating here ten years ago from Germany, through his film productions and photography. Hastert's films have been screened at festivals around the world and include biographical documentaries of Edward Hopper, Paul Outerbridge and Alberto Vargas. The PMCA is pleased to present the first museum exhibition of his photographs.

Using a simple Holga camera, Hastert captured a variety of images in multiple exposures. There are three motifs: shadows on the ground, shadows of objects multiple-exposed, and the source of light itself: rays of sunlight shining through leaves, bouncing off the desert sand, or reflecting off of the surface of the Pacific Ocean. The multiple exposures and uncut negative strips result in unconventional images that are printed digitally in unconventional dimensions.

The shadow has a symbolic meaning to Hastert. It touches the plants, the soil, and the water of the land where he now lives. He is concerned with the playfulness of the shadow, how it touches the ground and gives evidence of his presence, and tells of his journey to the United States and the exploration between the land of his birth and his new home.

The narrative of Shadow-man.1 also draws from the literary theme of Peter Schlemihl, "The Shadowless Man" from the 19th century German novel by Adelbert von Chamisso. Schlemihl, the protagonist, essentially sells his shadow to the devil in this archetypal stry. But the lack of a shadow makes him an outsider in society and he must hide from the sun to survive. His character's drama is that of alienation. In Hastert's own life, he employs this metapher of light and shadow, as they become the means of integrating himself in a new world.

Wolfgang Hastert is an award-winning German documentary filmmaker, cinematographer, photographer, and media artist with more than 10 long-form documentaries to his credit. His films explore American culture and have been shown at a large variety of film festivals such as the Silverlake Film Festival in Los Angeles, La Nuit Cinquieme Biennale international du Film sur l'Art at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, and the IFP / No Borders Festival in New York. Hastert teaches as adjunct professor in the Radio/TV department at San Diego City College and in the Visual Arts Department at the University of California in San Diego.

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