© Rosângela Rennó / Stiftung RWWA, 2021

Artist Meets Archive - Rosângela Rennó / Rheinisch-Westfälisches Wirtschaftsarchiv

Eaux des Colonies

22. May to 4 July 2021

The exhibition of the Brazilian artist Rosângela Rennó takes place within the framework of the "Artist Meets Archive" residency programme of the Internationale Photoszene Köln. Already in its second edition, the programme connects internationally active artists with photographic archives.

As an invited artist, Rosângela Rennó dealt with the Foundation Rheinisch-Westfälisches Wirtschaftsarchiv zu Köln. She follows the success story of the Cologne original Eau de Cologne, asking questions about the voids of conventional historiography. A timeline recapitulates the creation of the "original" and its countless plagiarisms, appropriations and reinterpretations. A world map made up of about 150 bottles maps the territorial spread of Eau des Colognes around the world. In this archive, the gaps and the information of doubtful origin are as important as the documents that prove certain facts.

Rosângela Rennó (*1962 in Belo Horizonte) lives and works in Rio de Janeiro/ Brazil. Rennó studied fine arts and architecture at the Guignard University of Art of Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte. She received her doctorate at the School of Communications and Arts in São Paulo. 

The work of the Brazilian artist Rôsangela Rennó is characterized by the way she deals with discarded pictures she finds at flea markets all over the world or found footage from private and public archives or newspapers. In her long-standing artistic work, Rennó explores the relationship between remembering and forgetting. She critically examines Brazil's past and investigatively works out hidden information from the pictures of popular photography collections. By appropriating found images, she works against forgetting. Thus she transforms small flea market prints into large museum prints. She transfers a stock of images into complex installations, sometimes as projections or in connection with film. In this way she not only creates an encounter with anachronistic image carriers and historical artefacts, but also exposes new readings and alternative narratives. "Since the 1980s I have been attracted to vernacular images and a little later to archive images, because I always thought that through this kind of images I could make a connection to people and humanity. Especially in Brazil, I think that our history is written by the lack of information and images, and not in moments that have been well documented and told by the people." Rosângela Rennó from the video: Rosângela Rennó – on Rio Montevideo, The Photographers’ Gallery, 2016 Rosângela Rennó is an invited AMA artist at the Stiftung Rheinisch-Westfälisches Wirtschaftsarchiv zu Köln (RWWA).