Steffi Klenz’ photographic practice is fundamentally concerned with challenging conventional conceptions of architecture. Her work unfolds in urban places and buildings but it is not architectural photography; instead it engages with the space in question as a location for transition and transformation. One might refer to the discipline of architecture as functional, rational and grounded but Klenz’ images view the representation of the interior space of the house in an antithetical manner. Her work visually approaches the idea of ‘dwelling’; similar in meaning to ‘living’ or ‘lingering’, dwelling is understood by Klenz as an active engagement of thought in present tense: to reside, to remain. For the Surrealist poet Louis Aragon, buildings were ‘thresholds to a kingdom of the marvellous’. Klenz also presents the house as more than a mere ‘machine for living’ (as characterized by the modernist Le Corbusier). Klenz’ photographic works regard the house as a stage: a theatre of the domestic that represents the interior environment as a mysterious fragmented space.
The photographic body of work ‘Hewitt’s Heap’ (2011/2012) uses the artist’s own house in London. On moving in the house appeared to be inhabited, if not by the former occupants (the Hewitt family), then by their ghosts. ‘Hewitt’s Heap’ uses the furniture left behind by the previous occupants as assisted readymades. Chairs, wardrobes and cabinets are transformed in an attempt at systematic bewildering. The objects’ latent (albeit irrational) ability to provoke the presence of the Hewitt family has been literally destroyed by the use of acidic chemicals on the photographic surface. The destructive action is employed in an attempt to discover the domestic space anew.
This series allows the chemical process to disturb the representational recordings of the objects. The chemicals literally and materially inscribe themselves into the object of the negative -and respectively the image- determining the images’ final appearance. The images liberate the domestic space of the home from its traditional role. The house is reconfigured into a space that no longer has a ‘merely’ utilitarian purpose. ‘Hewitt’s Heap’ explores the materials and objects that determine the home as such, presenting the domestic space as a place of restless agitation and abstracted spatiality.