27
Sep
09

Exhibition: ‘Snow Machine’ by Florian Maier-Aichen at Gagosian Gallery, Britannia Street, London

Exhibition dates: 3rd September – 3rd October 2009

 

Florian Maier-Aichen. 'Der Watzmann' 2009

 

Florian Maier-Aichen (German, b. 1973)
Der Watzmann
2009

 

 

Florian Maier-Aichen brings a contemporary sensibility to bear on a range of historical references, from German Romantic painting to 19th-century photographs of the American West. The German-born photographer shoots images with a large-format camera then alters them digitally by combining negatives, adding computer-drawn elements or otherwise changing the originals. The effects are painterly and the works large-scale (the biggest one in this show, all but one of them C-prints, was around 8 by 71⁄3 feet). In one untitled print (2009), a digitally created brushstroke cuts diagonally across a snowy mountainside. Alluding to the trails ploughed across mountains to prevent avalanches, the photograph also suggests the black-and-white paintings of Abstract Expressionist Franz Kline. The sky above a dark mountainous outcropping in Der Watzmann (2009) references the Caspar David Friedrich painting of the same name (Maier-Aichen appropriated the image of the peak from the painting itself), while the sky suggests an airbrush version of the aurora borealis in red-orange and blue-green.

Der Watzmann may be the most direct reference to 19th-century German Romanticism and the sublime, but these are themes that Maier-Aichen frequently evokes, only to upend them.

Jean Dykstra. “Florian Maier-Aichen,” on the Art in America website May 4, 2009 [Online] Cited 24/09/2019

 

Florian Maier-Aichen. 'Untitled' 2008

 

Florian Maier-Aichen (German, b. 1973)
Untitled
2008

 

'Snow Machine' by Florian Maier-Aichen installation view at Britannia Street, Gagosian Gallery

'Snow Machine' by Florian Maier-Aichen installation view at Britannia Street, Gagosian Gallery 2

 

Snow Machine by Florian Maier-Aichen installation view at Gagosian Gallery, Britannia Street, London

 

 

“Florian Maier-Aichen’s images reinterpret landscape photography for the 21st century. Often shot at obscure angles or from aerial views, his estranged vantage points are both alien and familiar; a sensation enhanced by his subtle manipulation of the images. Conceiving the representation of sites with a sense of dislocation, Maier-Aichen’s work addresses issues of globalisation and virtual perception. In Untitled, Maier-Aichen’s coastline is far from postcard perfect: a virgin beach lined with superhighway and luxury homes expanding into the misty distance. Tinting the surrounding forest in an unnatural shade of red, he casts an apocalyptic glow over the seascape, framing wilderness and human intervention as a scene of science fiction portent.”

Text from the Saatchi Gallery website [Online] Cited 24/04/2019

 

Florian Maier-Aichen. 'Untitled' 2009

 

Florian Maier-Aichen (German, b. 1973)
Untitled
2009

 

 

“I have always been interested in the making of things. Most products and materials conceal their process of manufacture. It’s the same with photography, which turned from a discipline that was subject to the mastery of the few (alchemists) into a readily available industrial mass product, too transparent and too technical.”

.
Florian Maier-Aichen

 

 

Gagosian Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of recent photographs by Florian Maier-Aichen. This is the artist’s first solo exhibition in London.

A photographer schooled on both sides of the Atlantic, Maier-Aichen’s work reflects on the dual influences of the history of photography and the history of painting, whether drawing on such dichotomies as German Romantic painting and the pioneers of German “objective” photography, or applying his post-factum experience of American frontier art – from the Hudson River School and Abstract Expressionism to Land Art and West Coast conceptualism – to his own topographical depictions of landscape subjects. He focuses on the camera’s consummate power to establish typologies of thought, perception, and feeling, producing images that, in mining the past, come to embody a matrix of issues salient to recent photographic practice.

Approaching the photographic field like a painter approaches a canvas, Maier-Aichen does for the contemporary image-world what pictorial photographers attempted in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, using the strategies and motifs of Romantic and Luminist painting. Unnaturally high-keyed or delicately tinted images of soaring mountain ranges, moody seas, and the industrial architecture of bridges, waterways, and dams carving through the natural landscape are all emanations of a rich and diverse imagination where a keen and critical grasp of art history coexists with more pronounced literary and cinematic conceits.

In a creative process that is as intensive as it is subtle and opaque, Maier-Aichen combines an exhaustive range of staged effects and traditional photographic techniques – albumen, silver-gelatin, and c-printing – with drawing and current computer-imaging processes. Weaving together often disparate elements from distinct sources, he applies myriad creative adjustments to each in order to produce seamless photographs that do not betray their intricate and layered compositions. Multiple negatives, digital manipulation, and elaborate studio techniques are employed to produce seemingly straightforward photographic landscape subjects while other images that engage the most conventional photographic techniques may themselves be subjects of pure fabrication.”

Text from the Gagosian Gallery website [Online] Cited 20/09/2009 no longer available online

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Many thankx to the Gagosian Gallery for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting.

 

Florian Maier-Aichen. 'Untitled' 2009

 

Florian Maier-Aichen (German, b. 1973)
Untitled
2009

 

Florian Maier-Aichen. 'Untitled' 2009

 

Florian Maier-Aichen (German, b. 1973)
Untitled
2009

 

Florian Maier-Aichen. 'Untitled (St. Francis Dam)' 2009

 

Florian Maier-Aichen (German, b. 1973)
Untitled (St. Francis Dam)
2009

 

 

Gagosian Gallery
6-24 Britannia Street
London WC1X 9JD
Phone: 44.207.841.9960

Opening Hours:
Tuesday – Saturday 10 am – 6 pm

Gagosian Gallery website

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His art work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes Art Blart, a photographic archive and form of cultural memory, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne, a Master of Arts (Fine Art Photography) from RMIT University, and a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.

Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘Dogs, chickens, cattle’ 1994-95

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