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Landscape in my Mind
Landscape photography today. Hamish Fulton to Andreas Gursky
11.02.2015 - 26.04.2015
In spring 2015, the Kunstforum Wien is presenting a comprehensive exhibition showing positions in contemporary landscape photography. “Landscape in my Mind” is a mental journey through different imaged articulations of the concept of landscape. The focus will be on contemporary neo-Pictorialist strategies: painterly tableaus in monumental format are placed in contrast to the sober objectivity of conventional black-and-white photos.
Thus Elger Esser, for instance, one of the leading proponents of the landscape genre, does not see himself primarily as an artist-photographer, but as a picture-maker and landscape painter, who realises his works using photographic media. Relationships are opened up to historical landscape painting from the Romantic Era to Impressionism, his favourite motifs being picturesque river landscapes and coastal regions with lashing waves. A further focus of the exhibition is on the landscape as an experiential space documented with the camera. Photographers such as the land-art artist Hamish Fulton or the former Becher pupil Axel Hütte see themselves here as wanderers and travellers through the world. Far-flung panoramas and dense primeval-forest situations unfold before our eyes. Photography has long ceased to be simply an objective medium reproducing reality, but in the digital age has become a means of alienation and manipulation. Andreas Gursky is a master of invisible manipulation by “collaging” diverse photographs of a selected motif in one and the same work – for instance fantastical island groups that might be from a James Bond film – thus creating a new reality. Gursky also plays with the phenomenon of escalated monumentality, of satiation and exaggerated emptiness. Cross-country runners and race cyclists shrink to become busy ant-like colonies in sublime mountain landscapes. Balthasar Burkhard’s black-and-white pictures of mega-cities evoke feelings that are cosmic throughout. The rampantly growing big city is the cultural landscape and living space of twentieth- and twenty-first-century people. In conclusion we float above the world and take to the heavens. Stellar maps as we know them for instance from Thomas Ruff’s constellation pictures dissolve the landscape into gravity-free space. The horizontally bound “landscape view” is replaced by a bird’s eye perspective onto the earth and water masses below. The “Mission Landscape” leads us ultimately to the planet of Mars – the next station in the infinite reaches of space.
06/05/2015 - 12/07/2015