Rosa Stern

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Rosanna Marie Pondorf 

Biography Rosanna Marie Pondorf 

1993 Born in Eching, DE
2012 Completed secondary education
since 2015 Graphics studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, under Prof. Peter Kogler
2015 Solo exhibition, Multiversum, Bavarian State Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Family and Integration, Munich
since 2017 Freelance artist, ERES Foundation, Munich
Collaboration with Simon Sternal, as part of the artist duo Rosa Stern
2018 Freelance graphic artist, Deko Design, Munich
2019 Annual exhibition at the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich

Simon Sternal 

Biography Simon Sternal 

1988 Born in Bad Reichenhall, DE
since 2016 Graphics studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, under Prof. Peter Kogler
since 2017 Freelance artist, ERES Foundation, Munich
Collaboration with Rosanna Marie Pondorf, as part of the artist duo Rosa Stern
2017 Exhibition, Alles könnte auch jederzeit ganz anders sein, By Prinzip, Munich
Annual exhibition at the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich
2018 Annual exhibition at the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich
2019 Annual exhibition at the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich

The name of the artistic duo Rosa Stern derives from the artists' names, Rosanna Marie Pondorf (*1993 Eching, DE) and Simon Sternal (*1988 Bad Reichenhall, DE). The pair are students in the class of Peter Kogler at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich and have shared an atelier since 2017. Rosa Stern regard their collaboration as both a continuation and an enhancement of their personal artistic positions. They present their works in joint room concepts, thereby placing them in direct contrast. The works of the two artists are dominated by their fascination with complex topics such as money, the digital age and data processing. They frequently blend real and virtual experiences. This approach endeavours to make the essence of personality and virtual images tangible, translating the complexity of our environment into real spaces.

Installation view, exhibition START-UP 2019 (c) Rosa Stern / Rosanna Marie Pondorf und Simon Sternal
Installation view, exhibition START-UP 2019 (c) Rosa Stern / Rosanna Marie Pondorf und Simon Sternal

In her installation, Rosanna Marie Pondorf takes on the daunting task of untangling the increasingly complex monetary system and making it concrete and understandable.

The starting point of the installation is a solid block made of cancelled, shredded euro bank notes and sugar. It stands as a compressed mass, symbolising the greater restrictions in using hard cash. It is juxtaposed with an earlier work, a wall object made of euro bank notes, using a similar technique. Pondorf's 20th birthday was to have a far-reaching influence on her artistic development: her father marked the occasion by giving her 100,000 withdrawn deutschmark bank notes. This joke sparked her profound interest in the material, prompting her to engage in a more intense exploration of the subject and process it directly in her art.

The shift to the digital financial system becomes manifest in other objects presented by the artist within the framework of the installation: adopting the concept of open source, she shares the information with her audience, showing us how to have a credit card printed. She laminates the 200 transparent printing guides on top of each other to produce a block. The implied transparency is thereby lost in the density of the information. Next to the block, she places the blank credit cards that this process produces. Rendered anonymous, they are piled on top of each other, their chips and magnetic strips wiped clean. Pinned unobtrusively to the wall are instructions on how visitors to the exhibition can use them to build a house of cards and thus participate interactively in the installation. Despite their small size, the credit cards occupy a great deal more room than the cash, thereby symbolising the virtual monetary system. The eradication of all individuality leaves behind empty virtual spaces that lack any kind of informative value.

Detail view, exhibition START-UP 2019 (c) Rosa Stern / Rosanna Marie Pondorf
Detail view, exhibition START-UP 2019 (c) Rosa Stern / Rosanna Marie Pondorf

Simon Sternal also focuses on virtual spaces in his installation by tracing the digital trails left by gaming communities. He uses graphic media and the analogue, traditional technique of ink on paper to transpose this contemporary topic onto six wall charts. They are mounted on flexible TV supports, making the individual elements appear to merge into one coherent installation and highlighting how each individual personality can change the room.

Based on screenshots from the computer game Garry's Mod, his drawings consolidate the individual symbols into complex structures. The gamers are able to create the figures themselves in this community-based game, which explains the diversity of the figures and objects, including animals, mythical creatures and other motifs taken from popular culture. The installation features the fictitious character Ryu from the video game Street Fighter as the active player, whose moves can be followed online and saved.

Simon Sternal's work calls attention to the complex digital profile that every internet user leaves behind and uses computer games to visualise this process. With his installation, he reveals to the beholder that a further plane full of information exists below the digital surface. The virtual space is thus filled with the force of personality in such a way that our digital avatar gradually takes on a clearer shape through the downloadable codes, becoming more and more like our true self. The digital persona thus exerts its influence on our lives; the digital space becomes reality.

Installation view, exhibition START-UP 2019 (c) Rosa Stern / Simon Sternal
Installation view, exhibition START-UP 2019 (c) Rosa Stern / Simon Sternal

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