Natalie de Ligt: I want you to believe me

Ich will daß Du mir glaubst / Catalogue of the 9. Triennale Fellbach / 26.06.2004 – 26.09.2004

Martin Liebscher’s interest and passion are particularly for moving things. As a young man he worked as a film projection technician.The job entails changing rolls of film and one sees the strips of celluloid moving past, with thousands and thousands of miniature photos on them, which when they flow create the illusion of a moving picture. The artist Martin Liebscher, whose trade and medium is photography, loves everything which is new; from the mobile phone to the camera, from electronic toys to notebooks: where others are just buying their first computer program, he has already installed his third update.This is all thanks to his playful love of trying things out. But above all he uses the electric and technical gadgetsand equipment as work material and tools which he uses to put his ideas intopicture form. Martin Liebscher also has the wonderful gift of harmonising work with convenience. This is most obvious in the case of his UFO photos, where we see how passionately he loves being creative with his hands. While studying at the art academy, Liebscher began on a series of plastic spaceships which he built from used disposable cameras and sprayed with grey paint. They could easily serve as models for films such as „Star Wars“ or“Star Trek“. „He photographs these alien shapes with the aid of a pole and thin rope in front of different landscapes in the USA. The result is remarkable: flying objects seem to come in to land over the skyscrapers of New York or the neon signs of Los Angeles and Las Vegas, hover mysteriously over desert landscapes, deep gorges and monotonous country roads or to return to Roswell, the town in which a flying saucer was said to have crashed at the end of the 1940s.“¹ He framed the photographs in different formats in cheap plastic frames and hung them on the wall in the manner ofPetersburg hanging. In a gallery presentation in 1998 one of the romantic UFO pictures, blown up very large, served as wallpaper.In this way he created the atmosphere of a rather ludicrous private collection where someone had collected evidence of the existence of unknown flying objects. Liebscher’s UFO photos are remarkable. Nobody before him has succeeded intaking such shots with such clarity. A cold shiver can run down our spine when we look at them: so they are here! Martin Liebscher’s work is characterised by turning reality on its head, by letting things in a familiar form suddenly appear completely alien – but always with a nod and a wink, so that we can smile too. The UFO photos very soon turn out to be fakes. The string supporting the plastic space ships in the pictures is just too obvious. Our shock and amazement die away as quickly as they came. Liebscher thought up and carried out the idea of the photo series during along time of scholarship in Los Angeles. Many friends visited him while he was on the west coast, and he often went on expeditions with them, exploring the country, the cities and nature. Plastic UFO, string and pole were always with him in his luggage. If you went on a trip with Martin Liebscher, you not only had the pleasure of travelling along in his space-ship-like car, which had the logical name „Ford Galaxie“, but you also had to help him occasionally by holding his space ship. One can have a number of different thoughts about the message behind the photos. But we should always bear one thing in mind: „The world will not come to an end because of its lack of miracles, but from our refusal to be amazed at them.“ (J.B.S. Haldane).“

¹ Janneke de Vries. Frankfurter Rundschau, 17. Juni 1998

2 Janneke de Vries. Frankfurter Rundschau, 17. Juni 1998

Natalie de Ligt 2004