ANDREAS GEFELLER IN NEW YORK
March 26, 2009, by Kris Wilton, Art Info
Thereâs a temptation, when considering the work of DĂŒsseldorf-based photographer Andreas Gefeller, to place him in a German school that stretches back to August Sander and includes more recent masters such as Bernd and Hilla Becher and their many disciples. Like these famous forefathers, Gefeller employs a rigorous approach to the medium that is grounded in technical fluency and a desire to systemize and master his content.
But while his predecessors' work was fairly uniform in appearance, Gefeller creates photos that differ widely in their effect, palette, and apparent point of reference. Though also rooted in documentary and aiming for comprehensiveness, Gefellerâs pristinely rendered images are far more lyrical, often functioning as abstract expressionism rather than ârealistâ depictions.
Working in a digital format, Gefeller painstakingly photographs a large surface inch by inch, then assembles those dozens or even hundreds of images into a large-scale composite (without otherwise doctoring them). The method is not unlike that used to compile the streetscapes on GoogleEarth; as a viewer, you want to both appreciate them for their comprehensiveness and to zoom in on the intricate details they capture.
The works in his current show at Hasted Hunt in New York â his second at the gallery, on view through April 25 â capture subjects as different as a sprawling floor of a local art school; a massive, graffiti-scarred Brooklyn rooftop; and the glittering blue bottom of a swimming pool. Drawn from Gefellerâs series âSupervisions,â the images hang together because of their shared methodology and tendency to expose pattern, but while the beach shot calls to mind the texture-driven minimalism of Robert Ryman or Piero Manzoni, the graffitied rooftop gestures to something much less restrained.
Perhaps the most thought-provoking of the lot is Beach, Domburg, 2006, which attempts to capture waves lapping on a shore. Gefeller applies his usual method, but because the waves are in motion, it appears as if heâs assembled his shots in a deliberate patchwork resembling the scramble of a poorly transmitted digital signal.
Here Gefeller recommends other work to see while in New York for this weekâs AIPAD (Association of International Photography Art Dealers) Photography Show, taking place at the Park Avenue Armory March 26â29.
1. American Museum of Natural History, ongoing
âI was extremely fascinated by the dioramas. I had seen them in photographs before (the famous black-and-white Sugimotos for instance), but I wasn't aware that they were so old (built in 1904!), making them historical objects in themselves! Seeing them in person was more confusing than I had anticipated and far more powerful than in photographs (sorry Sugimoto). They seemed to ask the same question often apparent in photographs: At what point does the reality (the taxidermied animal and vegetable objects) end and where does fiction (the painted background) begin? (Even more complicated is that the models are not âreal.â) The dioramas also seem to be a three-dimensional analogy for a recurring lesson in digital photography: Do not trust what you see in photographs!â
THE JAPAN SERIES BY ANDREAS GEFELLER
March 19, 2011, by Alexander Ho, Time.com
The Japan Series is Andreas Gefellerâs new body of work created in the Tottori Prefecture of Japan. The photos consist of plants modified by human intervention and above-ground power cables against black or white sky, and the images draw aesthetic inspiration from Japanâs taste for minimalism and calligraphy. Continuing his distinct process of digitally constructing many exposures into one single composite image, the photographs âinvestigate the relationship between natural growth and construction and the formal qualities of natural and man-made structures.â
In light of the recent events that have have deeply affected Japan, Hasted Kraeutler Gallery will donate 5% of the profits for every print sold until May 14 to the American Red Cross Japan and Pacific Tsunami Relief Effort, as well as all the profits from a special edition of Untitled (Cherry Blossoms), 2010, which sells for $300.
Gefellerâs The Japan Series is on display at New Yorkâs Hasted Kraeutler Gallery from March 31 through May 14, with an opening reception March 31 from 6 to 8 p.m. Further details about the show are available at hastedkraeutler.com. It will also be published as a monograph by Hatje Cantz in April.
ART REVIEW: ANDREAS GEFELLERâS CAREER IS LOOKING UP
March 9, 2009, by Pop Photo Staff, Pop Photo.com
Sometimes photographers are so busy looking out at the world that they forgot to look up, or down. Andreas Gefeller isnât particular interested in what is overhead, but heâs totally tuned into whatâs underfoot.
Above, for instance, you will see his picture of a room used by students in the renowned Kunstakademie in Dusseldorf, Germany, where Bernd and Hilla Becher once taught the likes of Andreas Gursky and Thomas Ruff.
Gefeller, who lives in Germany, created the image by painstakingly shooting every square inch of the floor using a Canon EOS 5 with a 35mm lens, which he suspends at a height of about five feet with a boom-like apparatus that extends in front of him. (He fires the shutter by remote control.) He then stitches the scans together in Photoshop.
I thought Iâd show you the image of the student room because 1) I think itâs interesting that the floor of a room used by art students appears to be a piece of art itself; and 2) the image is a fairly straight-forward example of Gefellerâs process. It makes it easy to understand how he does what he does.
But you also need to know that this room is only a small portion of the Kunstakademie space that Gefeller photographed. Below is the entire area, as recorded and assembled by Gefeller. The full scene required months of shooting and the assembly of thousands of individual exposures. Seeing the image at the size I can provide here doesnât really convey the perspective disorientation of Gefellerâs large digital prints, or the precision of detail he is able to achieve.
Last Friday I visited the Hasted Hunt Gallery in Chelsea to look at a new exhibition of Gefellerâs work. (The show, which runs through April 25, is the second for Gefeller at this gallery.) The photographer himself was thereânot an accidentâand he gave me a brief walk-through. By the end of our tour, there were about 10 other gallery visitors walking behind us, raptly listening to him and his ideas about what is real and what is not, and whether there is even a difference in the digital age.
Gefeller, who was visiting New York for a few days before returning to his native Germany, looks like a young and earnest art student, though he is in his late 30s. He started this series, which he calls âSupervisions,â in 2002, and his first show at Hasted Hunt consisted mostly of the complex floor-plan images he constructs. For the new work, Gefeller has moved outside, onto beaches, into orchards, and under water in swimming pools.
All the images, old and new, play a merry game with the viewerâs sense of reality. While the images of office suites (like the one above) seem to be taken from a god-like perspective, they show only what Gefeller can capture from his own eye-level.
âHow do you show the cross-sections of walls separating offices?â I asked him.
âWell, I donât, really,â Gefeller explained. âI will shoot the entire floor surface of an office, then shoot the floor of the hallway outside the office. When I put the two areas together in Photoshop, the visual space between the hallway and the office, or between offices, appears as a wall.â