»Space / Spaces II«
Anna Lehmann-Brauns, Jens Liebchen, Joel Meyerowitz, Aitor Ortiz, Georges Rousse
Revisiting the theme of Raum / Räume (space / spaces) for a second time, the exhibit brings together different concepts of space as presented by the showcased artists working in the medium of photography. Not only do they use different techniques but their distinctive approaches also feature basic differences in presentation, interpretation and execution. The exhibit presents works by Anna Lehmann-Brauns, Jens Liebchen, Joel Meyerowitz, Aitor Ortiz and Georges Rousse.
Anna Lehmann-Brauns on her project Theatre and Comedy at Kurfürstendamm – A Tribute in Photographic Images:
“After years of fierce battle, the demolition of the two Berlin venues, the Komödie and the Theater am Kurfürstendamm is definitely scheduled to begin in May 2018. During a guided tour of the two houses, passing through the cloakrooms, the dressing rooms, the wood workshop, the prop room, and while looking into the small theatre boxes, I am once again reminded of all the splendour and beauty of these wonderful places. From the red velvet seating to the creamy interior, from the countless crystal chandeliers of all sizes to the atelier-like wood workshop with its meter-high ceiling – to name but a few details – this house breathes history.
This complex, built by Oskar Kaufmann, where Max Reinhardt worked, where plays by Brecht and Weill were premiered, where, among many others, Inge Meysel, Harald Juhnke, Günter Pfitzmann and Katharina Thalbach performed for many years, evening after evening, will now give way to yet another shopping mile.
In conversations, it becomes clear that staff members are still struggling to come to terms with this decision. Between shock and recognition of the inevitable, they are waiting for events to unfold. Unfortunately, nobody, it seems, can reverse this incomprehensible decision by an external investor, but I have the unique opportunity to capture the gentle charm of this wonderful house in my photographic images one last time.”
Jens Liebchen, text by Gerry Badger:
Jens Liebchen’s Playing Fields examines the latest area where the „Great Game“ of geopolitics is being played. The area is the Caspian Basin, and the „playing field“ a clutch of former Soviet republics. The price is the world’s largest untapped reserves of oil and gas. Going there, as Liebchen did, you see little of this desperate struggle. He could have photographed oil derricks or some of the environmental blight caused by the oil industry, but that seemed to too literal a statement. So he built up his picture of the game by subtle allusion.
The politics of the Caspian basin revolve around energy. So, one of the metaphorical leitmotifs permeating Playing Fields revolves around the primary source of natural energy and the starting point of photography – light from the sun. He has used sunlight and shadow to articulate the difference of light (energy) and shade (lack of energy), thus articulating the reason why the superpowers are scrabbling over the Caspian. A rectangular shaped shadow on the ground, for example, looks like a trapdoor set into the earth, leading to the lower regions where the oil and gas at the centre of the game are located. Beneath the abstract calm of the images in Playing Fields is a clear sense of the ominous. Sometimes, it can be exhilarating for a photographer to try to photograph the invisible. But here the invisible is a force, a malevolent entity. Everything looks peaceful, mundane, but the ominous present alluded to in Jens Liebchen’s eloquent photographs is clearly also an ominous future.
Joel Meyerowitz, Hardwig House, 1976, Negative no. 1:
In 1976, Joel Meyerowitz made a drastic change: in order to improve picture quality, he decided to use his 8×10 plate camera. As a result, he no longer devoted himself to street photography, but instead ventured into new territory. In the summer of 1976, he started working on the book project, “Cape Light.” Spaces, buildings, beaches and portraits became the new focus of the photographer. The first shot, negative no. 1, the Hartwig House of 1979 is probably legendary by now.
Aitor Ortiz, Muros de Luz – text by Francisco Javier San Martin:
It was the contrast between the organic quality of landscape and the structure of a marble quarry which inspired the artist to embark on his series, Muros de Luz (Spaces of Light/ Walls of Light). With his experience of a photographer and an architect, he creates new spaces. Proximity and immeasurability, visibility and imagination, boundaries between inhumanity and inhabitability, between light and shadow, refuge and danger or spatial illusion are recurring themes of this work, created in collaboration with the architect Josep Egea. In dialog between photographer and architect, virtual spaces have been created on the basis of digital photographs. These spaces assume the idea that they can be captured through the mechanisms of perception and visual interpretation. The goal was to highlight the development of a mental space, a place of co-ordinates which does not exist (per se) but still takes shape in front of our eyes. The project seeks to create a reality that is immaterial but that the viewer nevertheless is able to reconstruct. The photographs become a place of friction between physical space and mental figuration.
Georges Rousse is unmistakably a photographer: his photographs reveal his works, and the choice of composition, cropping, lighting, and pressing the trigger become essential aspects of his creative process. At the same time, however, he is also a painter, a sculptor and an architect, who relates to his workplace the same way a painter does to his canvas or a sculptor to clay or marble. His raw material is space, mostly abandoned buildings. Inspired by the architectural quality of a place and its light, always keeping his ultimate goal in mind, he creates a photographic image by choosing a “fragment” and creating a set-up and arrangement. In these empty spaces, Georges Rousse constructs a kind of utopia that projects his vision of the world – his imaginary universe. The work Palermo from the Year 2000 reflects the full scope of his work. The arrangement he was able to create in this room reflects his skills as architect, painter, sculptor and photographer.