Dear Clark, Portrait of a Con Man. By Sara-Lena Maierhofer
If the fiction is given over any further to the principles implicit in the con man, into fictitiousness, he himself would disappear out of sight behind the mechanisms of the fiction: everything inconsistent, changeable, shifting, identity-less.
The work of Sara-Lena Maierhofer evolves around the life of a stranger. In Dear Clark, the artist tries to approach Clark Rockefeller, a con man whose life consisted of adopting and abandoning different identities. When she fails to arrange a meeting with the person in question, she decides to study him from a distance. Step by step, the artist comes closer to getting to know her subject; his appearance, his peculiarities, his intentions. How can one construct a profile of someone who constantly readjusts himself? What characterizes a man who systematically defies character? How do you grab someone who constantly aims to breakaway?
“As a time traveller moves between different centuries, a con man like Clark Rockefeller travels between various identities and lives, at home only in permanent transformation. Trying to capture him in his many disguises is a rather hopeless endeavour. After several attempts to trap his persona, I realized I had to beat him with his own weapons. Accordingly, I encircled the phenomenon of the con man on different levels: his appearance, his conventions, criminal profile and pathologies. Above all, I had to become accustomed to experimenting with deception myself, if I wanted my research to be successful – to the point where reality and speculation merged, and where facts seemed as unknown and unknowable as fictions.”
The work is divided into seven chapters: The Promise, The Lie, The Transformation, The Duplication, The Reflection, The Shedding and The Trace. The final body of work consists of about 70 color and black & white photographs, collages, photo copies and found photographs plus several videos, socalled Truth Studies, and a book including the images, various texts and a short story.
(Text by Sara-Lena Maierhofer)
There is also an Artist Edition 1 (Edition of 20) and An Artist Edition 2 (Edition of 60 Bi-Lingual)
Publishers Edition Drittel Books
132 pages / 74 images
7 pictures handglued inside
19 × 24 cm
Edition of 500
Published at Verlag Dritte Books
Also available directly from Sara-Lena Maierhofer