Mimetic Assimilation
Erna Hecey Gallery, Luxembourg


Erna Hecey is pleased to announce Jeff Weber’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. Weber works primarily with the mediums of analogue photography and film. For Mimetic Assimilation, he is presenting two bodies of work: a group of photographs made as part of his long-term project Kunsthalle Leipzig and documented in the artist book An Attempt at a Personal Epistemology (2018), and a series of recent photograms (Untitled / Neural Networks). The Kunsthalle Leipzig was initiated and run by Weber between 2012 and 2017 as a conceptual framework in the form of a project space and an expansion of his own practice towards the curatorial.

The consistent, long-term documentation of the exhibitions and events taking place at Kunsthalle Leipzig became a conceptual work of art in itself. Marie-France Rafael describes it as “transforming the essence of photography as representation into an active process, where the participation of the invited artist is required to open up the image towards another image.” (1) Rather than an isolated object, the photographic image is enmeshed in and emerges as a nodal point within a complex of relations, and it is this set of relations that is crystallized in the image.

In the exhibition Mimetic Assimilation, a selection of photographs from An Attempt at a Personal Epistemology, covering the artist’s research on early Christian Gnosticism in Cairo (2013), is juxtaposed with a new series of photograms. The black-and-white grid-like images are generated by a neural network, a program created by Weber to process data that simulates how neurons in the brain connect. The data sets entered into the program in the form of numerical series alter the relations between the artificial neurons. These are subsequently transposed into matrixes and rendered into pixels by an animated sequence, which is then exposed to photo-paper, letting the neural network take over the distribution of shadow and light for the photogram to be made.

The photogram holds a crucial place in Weber’s photographic practice, standing in a metonymical relation to his work as a whole: it functions as a metonym for an inquiry into method, it marks the experimental nature of his photographic practice, and it maps the system of indexical relations which, at various levels from the physical to the conceptual, constitute the image.

(1) Towards a Performative Understanding of Photography, Conversation with Marie-France Rafael