Looking at the Window
Ausstellung – Exhibition
16. 01. 2014 – 22. 03. 2014
Galería Helga de Alvear, Madrid, Spain
Whether romanticized, abstract, or with the mien of a toxic cloud – the photographs of the sky that Adrian Sauer showes for the first time in Madrid give free rein to our yearning for sumptuous images. But the photographs are more than just the result of the artist’s daily ritual of pointing his camera upward to capture weather phenomena. The cloud motif provides a chance to reflect on the visual and technical qualities of photography itself. With a second, critical look, the paradoxes appear. The clouds are the subject of the images, yet they are without object. Without proportional reference points or perspective, any attempt to read scale or ratio in them is pointless. The tools of digital photography, moreover, prove to be both a blessing and a curse. With a color spectrum idealized by algorithm, and calculated as both positive and negative, there is little danger of the images becoming kitschy. Rather, the focus on the motif is intensified. But the panel format overtaxes the resolution of the digital compact camera. So Adrian Sauer’s skies, seen up close, disintegrate into millions of millimeter-sized pixels.
Another new series of works are images of graph paper. In comparing the photographs to the commercially available version of the paper, you immediately notice the curved lines in the grid. Looking at the series title “6 sheets of graph paper, photographed with Zeiss Planar T* 50/1.4 on Canon EOS 5D Mk II”, you realize that you are not the victim of an optical illusion, but that the camera lens has distorted the grid lines. In these photos, the graph paper is not a tool for portraying mathematical functions, or geometric shapes, as diagrams to accurate scale. Instead, the images trace precisely those inadequacies peculiar to photographic technology. These days, optical accuracy is no longer necessary, because with image editing software, you can correct any flaws with just a few clicks. As he has done in earlier work, Adrian Sauer is here nimbly reappraising the question of “image-analytical photography” (bildanalytischen Fotografie) and, with gentle humor, expanding it to contemporary photographic materials.