Real/Sur-Real: Photography

After our two presentations with neo-surrealist painting we continue this theme in the medium of photograpy. In this one point the difference is fundamental: While the painter can freely design every detail from subject matter to style to technique, it is the central characteristic of the photograph that it mirrors the world as it is. In this respect, documentary and street photography may be called photography par excellence.

In fact, the four photographers whose work we present here have worked in or at least dealt intensively with these fields. And they made a different choice: as they say, they decided not to shoot photos but make art instead, to create „pictures“. Significantly, the Surrealists of the 1920s put their photographs quite deliberately side by side with painting, as equals.

Nevertheless, the documentary plays a decisive role in these photographs, if only as a pièce de résistance that must be overcome. Contrary to classical Surrealism that dissected reality and recomposed it, these four photographers take the world as it is, they largely forego setting up their own scenery. Their most important means of metamorphosis is light, be it from natural or from artificial sources. They create their own realities in which the subjective, the intuitive and the unconscious play central roles. In their pictures the world appears as it is, and yet very different.

In his series THE POEMS, Boris Eldagsen is concerned with a seemingly paradox question: How can the world’s visible and tangible material be used to design something as impapable as the unconscious?

For her series TRIPLE SEVEN Anne Lass has selected a subject that lives from illusions: gambling halls. In these casinos the real world is completely blotted out, nothing is allowed to destract the gambler from his addiction.

Gilles Roudière’s series ALWAYS IN SEPTEMBER, ISTANBUL is fully based on the contrast of black and white, light and shadow. Even most mundane sceneries seem to be charged with meanings of downright apocalyptic dimensions.

In her series MODEL SHIFT, Ulrike Schmitz works with outdated scientific equations and models. She absorbs these theories and transforms them in a kind of performance into her own installations of intuitive character.

However anecdotal these photographs might appear, they do no tell linear narratives. They ask more questions than giving answers and invite the beholders to create their own stories.