Claudio Ahlers - THE LOCKS OF LOCKDOWN
Seven Scenes of Severance
Three years since the Covid pandemic engulfed the globe.
The world has since moved on at breakneck speed, changing in ways most could not have foreseen when we first found ourselves in lockdown isolation in the spring of 2020.
At times the profound experiences we encountered during the Covid years seem like a distant dream, and the extraordinary out-of-time quality of those experiences might easily make us doubt that any of this happened at all.
But of course, the pandemic was all too real.
For many it led to deep personal loss and to futures that forever remain unwritten. While all over the globe livelihoods and aspirations succumbed to stasis, this extended arrested passage of time also allowed us the freedom to reinvent ourselves - on a governmental, communal and personal level.
With The Locks of Lockdown, I examine the early days, weeks and months of those times. When what had befallen us was at first terrifyingly unfamiliar and disconcertingly without direction, but after a while became comforting and strangely reassuring in its steadfast refusal to succumb to the ordinary drum beat of the lives we had lived until this juncture.
How did it feel? How did it move us? How did we respond both on a personal and community level?
Is it possible in some way to re-live our experiences, and to extract something that going forward we may hold as meaningful, and from which can develop a deeper understanding of ourselves and the world around us?
© Claudio Ahlers, Courtesy : Galerie Huit Arles
To attempt to answer these questions, I present seven photographs from my series “The Locks of Lockdown”, for which I embalmed a nude figure with hair I collected, that clients at my local barbershop had left behind after their first post-lockdown haircut.
In search of a deeper understanding, I combine these photographs with a sound installation entitled Seven Scenes of Severance: an evocative sonic journey that follows a fictional protagonist from the day he enters lockdown, through seven emotional states in isolation and back again into freedom.
I hope that the opportunity to re-live this particular essence of those times might enable my audience to re-connect, re-asses and re-evaluate what they too lived through during those extraordinary years.
About the Artist
Claudio Ahlers is a UK based, German photographer. His work in portraiture and experimental nude photography explores our physicality and the ways in which we relate the experience of being in the world though the medium of our bodies. His photography develops from personal conversations he has with those that choose to work with him. In his studio these conversations continue as a photographic dialogue with his sitters, while the use of colour, fragmentation, diffusion and selected materials are applied in situ, creating images that capture meaningful and profound aspects of our lives.
His work has been shown worldwide in exhibitions in New York, San Francisco, Miami, Cincinnati, Portland, Berlin, Moscow, Tokyo, as well as London, Edinburgh, Bristol and Bath in the UK.