Exhibitionin Berlin / Germany
In her new photographic series “Northern Drifting” about Icelandic landscape, Julia Baier capture the character and sound of Iceland’s nature in her very own, unusual way. Here the island’s beauty possesses a slightly distorted form and differs from what one may consider or imagine as the generic Icelandic landscape. Although the images resemble and respond to the a priori recognition of Iceland as scenic tableaux vivants, they are in fact different, more of glitch images. What may seem as a technological error, is, in this series, used as added value, a benevolent mark of technology’s assistance in creating a new poetic imagery.
In 2015 Baier spent a month in Iceland with an art residency. Unlike her previous work, for this specific project she decided to experiment with her cell phone’s camera using its panoramic feature while being in motion herself. She gave up her stability (while being driven in a car through the landscape), thus creating a dynamic collaboration between the medium and herself. The time span that the camera captures, entwined with the scenery, provides a twist in our comprehension of duration. Lending her trust to the camera, by granting it the role of an inventor of the image, Baier adds another value to the series, a unique moment of interplay between the medium and the scenery it tries to encapsulate. The photographer no longer is the sole author – it is a collaboration between her and the machine.
As the eyes drift though the curated series, they are in motion, equally as the island’s ground itself is in a constant tectonic move, it is active and alive. Iceland’s nature exists as a paradox. Hot springs erupt from the lava grounds, there are steep mountains covered with snowfields, while the Atlantic sea feeds the moss on its sturdy rocks. This contradictory nature of the Nordic, Baier re-locates into her own unconventional usage of the camera. It is in the small cracks, random fragments of the digital that translate these movements, thus adding a haptic note to the whole series. Baier’s method found its perfect accomplice in the organic textures of the Northern landscape; perfectly translating and playing with the landscape’s fragility.
In his famous text “The Sublime Object of Ideology” philosopher Slavoj Žižek describes the aporia between technology and nature. When do we yearn for nature? Not when we are out there ourselves. Most profoundly we yearn for nature when we are confided in our social space, our technology. Our dream of an untouched nature is available precisely because of our life in a social and technological infrastructure. “The Northern Drifting” series shows what happens when we document nature not against technology, but through it. Baier not only seizes nature in its complex aesthetics, but focuses on the relation between humankind and nature.
A Photograph is a single moment captured in space and time, but each photograph of the “Northern Drifting” series is a pixel summary of various images made over a longer period of time, hence removing them from “common” photography and placing them in a more filmic context. Timewise, a photograph is usually made in the short fraction of a second, however every image of this series is a condensed material of an extended shutter session, generating the impression that one can feel the lapse of time.
Pursuing this filmic image, one might say that Baier’s role shifts from being a “mere” photographer shifts to being also a montage editor in the process of curating her own images. Her authorship is felt mostly in the final stage of production, where she creates a new assemblage made of three components: the landscape, the lens and the author – though ending in single two-dimensional photographs.
Although the generic source is digital and artificial, the images carry their own unique poetics in their visual expression. Iceland’s inherited legacy of being mystical finds itself re-grounded in this series. The images touch on the concepts of surrealism as they deconstruct the idea of a landscape being a place of perfect beauty and serenity. “The Northern Drifting” series honors nature’s beauty and value but at the same time provokes our very concept of how we look at nature.
Marija Katalinić, October 2016
Gallery hours Tues-Fri 11 am – 6 pm, Sat 11 am – 4 pm
Es bewegt sich
Es birgt Geschichten
2015 reiste Julia Baier anlässlich eines Stipendiums nach Island. In einer neuen Schwarz-Weiß-Serie reagiert sie in ganz eigener Weise auf die dortige Landschaft.
Island liegt auf zwei auseinanderdriftenden Kontinentalplatten, die die Erde beben, die Vulkane spucken und das Wasser brodeln lassen. Die Landschaft ist extrem: Schwarzes Lavagestein trifft auf Schnee, Moosflechten auf harten Fels, heißes Wasser auf kalte Luft.
Julia Baier findet für diese Brüchigkeit eine fotografische Entsprechung in Bildkreationen, die durch die experimentelle Verwendung der Panoramafunktion ihrer Smartphone-Kamera entstehen. Sie nimmt Fotos aus dem fahrenden Auto auf, nutzt nicht ihre eigene Bewegung, sondern die des Autos und gelangt darüber zu sehr eigenwilligen Ergebnissen. Die Kamera erfindet, sie kopiert willkürlich, sie lässt weg – je nach Schnelligkeit des Wagens – und erschafft ganz neue Landschaftsbilder.
Realistische Versatzstücke der vorbeiziehenden Landschaft verdichten sich mit zerklüfteten, von der Kamera erfundenen Bruchstücken zu neuen, ungewöhnlichen Resultaten. Es entstehen halb-fiktive Bilder mit teils filmhafter Anmutung, die eine perfekte Entsprechung in der Mythenhaftigkeit finden, mit der das geheimnisvolle Island aufgeladen ist und die zugleich die Zerbrechlichkeit der Natur in unserer heutigen Zeit thematisieren.
Julia Baier, 2016
Öffnungszeiten Di-Fr 11 – 18 Uhr, Sa 11 – 16 Uhr