Simon Menner (1978) was born in southern Germany. He has been living and working in Berlin since 2000 and received his degree from the Berlin University of the Arts (Universität der Künste) in 2007. As an artist he is fascinated in how images and perception are utilized as a tool to influence people. In our more and more image driven world it is key to understand and emphasize these mechanisms and by doing so enabling a public or personal response.
If you, for instance, want to show your audience how to produce explosives and you do it in a way, that the whole thing looks like a cooking show, that is absolutely ridiculous.
Photographer Simon Menner is less and less interested in taking new photographs, the focus of his praxis has for some time now mostly been reflecting photography – he is interested in how we understand images (and why), its different roles and how photography fulfils them. With a series titled Camouflage, he brought into question our faith in the credibility and truthfulness of the photographs. The series shows snipers, hidden in nature. Snipers are not actually being shown, as it is impossible to see them in the vast majority of cases. However, this did not prevent the internet audience from searching for the snipers in an almost “Where is Waldo” manner and spotting them. He addressed a different aspect of the photography with the Surveillance Complex section of his work. The photographs from the Stasi archive are burdened with their potential as the evidence material. Recently, Simon Menner has been obsessively collecting ISIS propaganda. He then analyses it and breaks it down into such details as gestures, beards or embraces. Through this procedure he exposes the often absurd ways of building a propaganda narration. Menner’s projects are diverse, but they revolve mainly around the power(lessness) of photography. We, therefore, began the discussion with the question concerning the role of the artist in today’s world.