The last one turns off the light

Commentary on “I Am Not There”
Thomas Klemm, Leipzig

“…and I wish I was beside – but I am not there I am gone”, lamented a desperate Bob Dylan in a crackling 1967 recording of his song “I’m not there”, a song about the loss of his love. Tim Kellner’s work shares its name with Bob Dylan’s song. In this series of portraits one also feels a sense of grief and loss. Kellners pictures tell us about termination, perhaps of desperate nostalgia, and about moments of the past. He shows portraits of people, who pass the observer like transient characters. We cannot find emotions, no clean cut facial expressions, no literal pointer towards any aspect of individuality. It appears to the observer that the characters portrayed have long since disappeared before the aperture of the camera closed. Merely enigmatic pictures remain as the result of partially hasty, partially elaborate studio installations. Kellner’s series, ”Stages” also breathes the spirit of the transient, temporary. The depicted sceneries show how little concern Kellner has about the individuality of his models. The portrayed people seem merely a hindrance that Kellner tolerates while observing the actual object. 
Ultimately empty, characterless containers remain in many of Kellner’s works. Kellner leaves it to the spectator to fill these works with spirit. The artist creates the atmosphere; the actual stories behind the works have been faded. Every now and then we find quotes of the history of photography. However this only causes the observer to make erroneous assumptions in the search for the story that the works may be based upon; as this leads ultimately to no more or no less than the elementary description of the relentless advancement of objects and the transience of vision.