Gallery f5,6 press release: Real Landscapes (engl.)
Thomas Wrede - Real LandscapesGalerie f5,6, Ludwigstrasse 7, München
Exhibition: 08.05 - 20.06.2009
„I see the world as a kind assembly kit, a grand stage, as image and simulacrum.“ (Thomas Wrede)
Gallery f5.6, Munich is proud to show the second exhibition in Munich of Thomas Wrede’s new work - Real Landscapes.His Picture Worlds and Landscape series have in recent years brought him great international acclaim. The second monograph of the German artist’s work Manhattan Picture Worlds (Kerber Verlag) has just come out.
What does Thomas Wrede's work show the viewer? The infinity of the ocean, its endless beaches, the dramatic setting of the mountain landscape, or a canyon immediately release a myriad of emotions and personal inner images and convey man’s deepest yearning for a place of peace and feeling fundamentally human. This host of emotions and inner imagery is the starting point of Thomas Wrede’s photographic exploration of the landscape. But Wrede is interested in more. By adding and staging his images with little models, usually borrowed from assembly kits of model railways, model cars and the like, Thomas Wrede digs much deeper into the foray of our reality perception and the image. What looks like the representation of a football field in a dramatic Caspar David Friedrichesque mountainous setting, in the midst of night, on second glance becomes a humorous questioning of our long constructed perceptions of reality and in relation, the image itself. Thomas Wrede’s perspective and humorous edit of the landscape on its most basic level represents a mirror for our dreams, wishes and yearnings. His landscapes, places and stories on second glance make no sense at all and cannot really exist. Thus Wrede’s work humorously unmasks our constructions of perception and landscape by showing us a kind of concentrate or hyper simulacrum. On closer inspection Wrede’s monumental depictions are an assembly of different realities. Wrede’s world is usually photographed half a metre above ground level. What appears as an endless ocean or a monumental mountain most often is “just” a puddle or a heap of sand on one of the endless beaches in Northern Germany or an old coal-mining field in Laussitz, Germany. With the help of model cars and parts of the model railway assembly kits, Wrede stages a kind of film set for the viewer to contemplate his or her perception. The irony to find the ocean in a puddle kind of brings Thomas Wrede’s questioning of our reality perception and motifs of yearning or longing to a culmination.
Once one has uncovered Thomas Wrede's process of working, the way one views his landscape from an artistic perspective also changes. One moves from the classic landscape photograph reticent of a Caspar David Friedrich-like construction of the image to a work in progress, a staging of a set, like Thomas Demand’s built and photographed paper worlds. Like Demand’s, Wrede’s images also always seem to tell a story. This, along with other formal concerns, moves Thomas Wrede’s photographs back into the world of painters such as Edward Hopper.
Another important aspect of Thomas Wrede’s work, which gives it its own unique quality, is the use of purely analogue photography. He trusts purely in the interaction of the models, the landscape and his own capability of staging this photographically. It is important to Wrede that on very close inspection, the viewer will find clues or traces of Wrede’s staging. Often, upon longer contemplation of an image, one can find Wrede’s thumb or even a footprint, or bits of beach debris, which lets Wrede’s created illusion come tumbling down quickly.
Fundamentally, Thomas Wrede is searching for a light-hearted game with the viewer. It is the constant movement between the quintessential trust and the irritation caused by Wrede’s fractures of the reality promise of photography that make this work so interesting.
Thomas Wrede (*1963) studied at the Kunstakademie Münster and taught photography there until 2005. The questioning of reality and perception has been Wrede’s main field of interest for the last 15 years. Gallery f5.6 is happy to present his new work in Munich again, next to exhibitions held at Wagner und Partner, Berlin and Beck und Eggeling in Düsseldorf this year.
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