The all-devouring moloch of everyday life*

Rosy Beyelschmidt's artistic work and biography are closely related. Her own personal fight for survival has permeated her work and defined her subjects. The self-portraits she totally alienates by means of photocopies – by definition faithful reproductions of original images – reflect states of mind, psychological distress and feeling. She forever assumes new identities, exposes herself to all kinds of situations and sometimes turns her photocopy pictures into large-format photographic works, subsequently even installations. The end of the 80s saw the advent of the video, a medium that allowed her to introduce the aspect of time into her work.

In her videos, isolation, or human loneliness, is associated with everyday realities and necessities. Communication degenerates into an absurd dialogue between things, the act of coping with everyday life leads to chaos, to the meaninglessness in which the original protagonist falls victim to things, becomes a thing herself. Even if she is the actor, she refers to mankind in general, or perhaps more to women, with whom she is able to identify more easily. But her work simultaneously proves that the absurdity of this theatre does not lead to an abandonment, but that this drama is continued: life is the absurd theatre of our everyday world.

Rosy Beyelschmidt's work is not analytical; it is descriptive. She observes and examines the world around her and reactions and emotions within herself. She relates the two; she reveals relationships. Looking through her work, we tend to conclude that Rosy Beyelschmidt apparently does not seek answers, since it is a big enough challenge for the artist to grasp the complexity of the questions and to reveal their relationships to eachother. But it is at this moment – this is what emerges from her videos – that possible answers to these questions are already hidden.

Media art proves to be an especially suitable means of linking reproductions of reality with imagination in order to visualize the sentiments, emotions and fears that they trigger. In her photocopy work and videos, inner deformations metamorphose into external deformations; it becomes clear what the skilfully contrived facade of our lifestyles and the "keep smiling" fronts we put up usually conceal. Behind rehearsed storylines, an awkwardness surfaces in her films, the obviousness of functional classifications in our everyday life becomes doubtful and sometimes out of place. Rosy Beyelschmidt exposes natural actions, our everyday environment, as a series of pointless, empty rituals, the purpose of which can suddenly turn into the opposite of what it appears to be.

Dr. Reinhold Mißelbeck ©
Head of the Photo and Video Collection at Museum Ludwig, Cologne

* Laudatory speech by Dr. Reinhold Mißelbeck, Head of the Photo and Video Collection at Museum Ludwig, at the presentation of the Chargesheimer Scholarship from the city of Cologne, 1995.