hello 65 - encounter with the future
the epoch of the elderly generation has begun – and we are a part of it. and getting older every day.
the artist enriko boettcher believes that ‘age’ is above all a question of awareness. long before trend scouts discovered the ‘silver age’ as a new target group or market niche, he began to search for a new dimension of ‘age’. it is a journey into the future. the future of all of us.
in his large-format pictures, boettcher portrays peo- ple over 65, focusing his eye on that which is essential to growing old: the human being. clichés associated with age which are influenced by mass media, public opinion and fear have no place here. the construction of the classification of ‘age’ is questioned through an expansion of our field of vision regarding what ‘age’ can be – beyond just retirement, gerontological analyses and the discussion on the senescence of europe.
boettcher produced and directed scenes with people both known and unknown, observing each of them with a stoical thoroughness, working with a fluidity between distance and nearness to achieve the gre- atest possible authenticity. the illustrated people are impressively natural, open and self-aware.
for many years maria pache produced and sold sausage sandwiches. she sits in a wheel chair, of which only a mere handle is visible, with a sausage- sandwich in her hand. she bites off. the meagreness of the stage setting produces an inflexible aesthetic. here boettcher stops feeding the viewers with details, because maria pache tells the story herself.
carlo del rocio sits leaning over a table. half of his face is almost lost in the blackness of the back- ground – but only almost. the outlines of his face are still strong enough to recognize him. wrinkled skin, the face lined, spent by weather and sun. the years have drawn the face. at the same time we see in him an indescribable youth, the tender budding of some- thing, a sense of dynamism. and we experience the biological process as a diversionary manoeuvre to our thinking.
just as theresa menrath pushes up her breast. she sits on a sofa, has her body in control, finds herself attractive, adventurous, she laughs, cracks jokes, flirts. the motion blur of the moment is our eye, which cannot adjust to what it does not want to see.
boettcher’s view is not euphemistic at all. there is no place for illusions due to the severity. the black and white images are precise and reductive, at the same time full of colour and unbridled in our fantasy. they generate enormous intensity und con- centration – nothing distracts one, the visual speed slows down, the rhythm of perception changes. josef reitmeier, and his motorbike upon which he props himself up. his back bowed with age, he sits on a chair. somehow nonchalant. the captivating back-ground is black. dead mat. the density of the black captures and absorbes the viewers. only then we recognize josef reitmaier’s moustache, glasses and his slippers – and recognize that history clings to people, life-long – making one into a witness and reminding us that the present is inescapably bound together with the past and the future.
that all people are actually ‘old’ plays no role – they are also more than that. the category ‘old’ is narrow and no longer valid. as the project shows, ‘age’ is a myriad of realities.
neither moralisation nor pity are evoked by boettcher’s pictures, they are not projection screens for one’s state of mind, ‘they are an impulse, no more and no less’. boettcher‘s intention is to ‘show what is’. in his work he condenses the quasi-real to its essence, the transcendence thus created leading finally to the question of being.
the project hello 65 is a snapshot of today and at the same time a view into the future. with his portraits enriko boettcher has created magnetic fields. and with the full force of life they attract and repel and attract ... vera yu berlin