Lilly Lulay

lives and works in Frankfurt ( Germany )





For many of my projects I use found footage which I buy on flea markets or on the internet. Therewith I see photography not only as medium of artistic expression but first and foremost understand and question it as a technique integrated in our everyday life. Growing up surrounded by images and in a period where taking

pictures oneself has become a banal, daily thing to do I wonder how this media structures our behaviour, memory and perception on collective and individual levels.


Found footage to me opens up views on places I have never been to and on time-periods I have not lived in myself. Somehow I use them to enlarge my field of perception and gain access to events that lay beyond my personal experience. (see: An und Aussichtspunkte,2014 / Amerika 1993, 2010 /Mindscapes since 2007) At

the same time working with other people’s photographs obviously confronts me with the media’s limits. My view is reduced to a rectangular cut-out, a certain perspective, the 2 dimensional reproduction etc. There is this ongoing dispute that photographs can show as much as they can hide.


What interests me is this discrepancy between the photographers, the cameras and the audiences modes of perception. Thus to a stranger things which hadn’t been in the photographers centre of interest might gain a stronger visibility and evidence than the original focus intended. Therefore photographs always show more then their author can control.


Let me give you an example. For the work titled Amerika 2010 I used hundreds of digital photographs taken by one tourist, to amplify the seemingly unconscious visual background of his snapshots. Here, the sky as visual element appearing in all images had been cut-out, piled, turned by 180° and arranged in a scientific

like showcase. Instead of the American countryside it is the sky as a universal symbol of vastness and boundlessness that now becomes the object. At the same time the steoreotype, irrational behaviour of a tourist becomes evident. I found myself asking, who would look at these 1110 pictures produced during a two weeks trip?


While photographs provide cut-out views of the reality they are somehow cut outs themselves. As a result they are eye-witnessing objects that transport fragments of one place and time to another. When working with photographs it´s not just the visual surface I am interested in but also their specific materiality. An image can be fixed on paper, projected through slides or visualised on screens, each period has its photographic techniques and it´s ways to use it. With my work I research photography as a cultural technique, which animates and meanwhile documents the media surrounding social practices.

How do technical and social factors influence the way reality is set into photographs?

How does this media determine and transform our relation to and our concepts of “the real”?


My working process could be described as a kind of manual postproduction. By cutting, overlaying, assembling or installing photographs in space, I intervene in the visual information of the original image as well as on its material structure. With my work I question the visual evidence of photography and tend to overcome their flat, two dimensional surface.


The Mindscapes are a ongoing series of collages I am working on since 2007. Based on private photographs of various contexts and times I create scenes of an inner world of memory and imagination to which no camera has access: Mind-scapes. Working on this series is a constant process of researching and playing with the human patterns of perception, which force us to identify even unclear elements as familiar objects in our visual memory. Depending on how the observer adjusts his attention on the Mindscapes, they oscillate between abstract arrangements, which clearly present edges between the fragments, and illusionistic montages – iconic worlds – that can be perceived due to the power of a composition based on a single cut out section. These collages make our perception constantly shift. They give space for objects like mountains, buildings or landscapes as impressions of a fictive, unstable world. Meanwhile in each work the indexical relations are fragmented – every Mindscape contains and links us to many realities.


Works like the Mindscapes, United Colours of Venice or An- und Aussichtspunkte show, that we never see bare reality, because as soon as we try to see or identify something, we make use of our constructive visual memory.