Models of Nature in Contemporary Photography

Group exhibition with Oliver Boberg, Sonja Braas, Julian Charrière, Mariele Neudecker, Shirley Wegner, and Thomas Wrede

January 11– April 26, 2020
Opening: Friday, January 10, 2020, 7-9 pm

The fascination with artistic illusion—whether in the form of trompe-l’œil, illusionistic painting, or models—is ongoing, although the deception of the eye is usually short-lived. The exhibition Models of Nature in Contemporary Photography explores the boundaries between construct and reality, between the artificial and the natural, confronting us as viewers with the issues of manipulation, imitation, and our own perceptions. The aestheticization of nature in art and the reformatting of nature into an artistic composition are at the center of the artistic approaches of the works. Even though these images deal with illusions, that is mimetic deceptions, they are no less real than replicated reality.

As the last venue of the touring exhibition the Alfred Ehrhardt Foundation shows works by Oliver Boberg, Sonja Braas, Julian Charrière, Mariele Neudecker, Shirley Wegner, and Thomas Wrede. They all construct by hand what they then photograph, usually forgoing any intensive digital reworking of the image. In this sense, their work occupies the medial threshold between the fields of sculpture, model making, and photography, although photography, or in some cases video, plays a significant role as the final presentation format, since the constructed models are often destroyed at the end of the process. Common to all of five artists is also the theme of nature as an artificial construct. Their miniatures show fantastical places, landscapes of the sea, snow, and mountains, urban areas, scenes of catastrophe or displays of the force of nature. As one examines an image, the photography increasingly masks the element of the model, often leading to the impression of a deceptively real image of nature and enabling artificiality to give way to naturalness.

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