Peggy Meinfelder’s ink drawing “Shake Hands”, enlarged to 5 x 5 metres, is based on a black and white photograph. It shows the then Bavarian Prime Minister Franz Josef Strauß and Alexander Schalck-Golodkowski, then head of the GDR Ministry of Foreign Trade, negotiating a billion-euro loan to the GDR in the mid-1980s. Behind the photograph lies an important moment in German history.
The artist alienates the photograph by transferring the protagonists, but not their surroundings, point by point with the greatest possible objectivity – a technique used in science, for example, to document archaeological finds. Peggy Meinfelder, however, shows that this apparent objectivity is deceptive: her scientific drawing sharpens the photograph, but only selectively. The artist, who was born in Thuringia, Germany, uses her ink drawing to show that uncertainties remain in the interpretation and communication of historical photographs.
Peggy Meinfelder, born in 1975 in Hildburghausen, lives and works in Munich.