OFF, a photographic series by Daniela Comani, is an excursus into perception as it relates to the media. With painstaking precision she probes that ever-present device for the reproduction of moving images, the television set, but in off mode: turned off, TV sets seem dead, they become cold objects – and yet concomitantly they serve as surfaces for viewers to project their own fantasies and fears on. Even when the picture is extinguished, the TV is still not bereft of content, for the dark screen reflects the room and the people and objects in it.
Daniela Comani doesn’t merely take pictures of inactive TV sets, she shoots them: the flash hits the dark screen like a Big Bang that yields new sights and insights, even as it outshines and obliterates the protagonist’s reflection. At the instant she pulls the trigger, the split-second flash blends with the surface structure of the television sets in the most peculiar ways, producing new images and new shapes in these landscapes with sunset, small format.
Daniela Comani’s series is also about design: for this minimalistic mise-en-scène of an assortment of TV sets of varying shape, size and design, the artist has painstakingly removed the brand names in order to bring out the physical idiosyncrasies of each different setup. The objects are portrayed from the front, as though they were people gazing out from the picture at the viewer. The housing of each set serves as a picture frame and suggests the machine’s essential nexus to the picture. The photograph turns the plastic TV sets into two-dimensional pictures, which Comani then mounts on paperboard to create a new three-dimensional object. Each picture is unique despite the serial nature of photography with its technical capability of infinite reproduction. (Renata Stih, Berlin 2011)