I am delighted to announce that Marco Breuer’s abstract photographs will be featured in the New Pictures 2 exhibition on February 18, 2010.
New Pictures 2: Marco Breuer
Abstract images in this new exhibition invite us to ponder: “What is a photograph?”
By David E. Little, curator and head of Photography
THE ACT OF MAKING a photograph involves some fundamental procedures that seem essential, such as pointing the camera, framing the image, and clicking the shutter. But few would include scraping, burning, shooting, embossing, sanding, abrading, cutting, and composting (yes, composting). That is, unless they are German artist Marco Breuer, whose abstract photographs will be featured in the exhibition “New Pictures 2: Marco Breuer,” opening Thursday evening, February 18, 2010, in the Perlman Gallery (262) at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA).
Breuer’s experimental artworks ask us to consider the question: What is a photograph? While few artists or writers would claim to have the definitive answer, most would include a camera and a representational subject in the discussion. Breuer removes both the camera and the traditional image. Instead, he strips photography to its essential materiality, and presents photographs that reveal physical actions on the surface of light-sensitive paper.
Much like mid-20th-century European and American abstract painters, Breuer has noted that he likes “to be in there, physically involved with the image.” In Pan (C-362), for example, one sees a subtle range of orange and black horizontal striations with small, circular flashes of lights that interrupt the pattern. Breuer created this elegant formal abstraction by scratching and removing layers of chemicals from the surface of chromogenic paper, which is the standard paper used by most color photographers. It is as though he is mining for color.
Breuer seems to scrutinize nearly every assumption about photography and its historical conventions. He makes unique works of art in a medium known for its multiple editions. In a time when big is often equated with contemporary, he creates modest-scale photographs in non-standard sizes. In a time of technological progress, he employs antiquated photographic processes. The distinctive blue tone of Spin (E-197), for example, is the result of a cyanotype printing process popularized by Henry Fox Talbot at the very origins of photography in the mid 19th century.
To capture the complexity of Breuer’s approach to photography, “New Pictures 2: Marco Breuer” will be divided into two parts. For the opening on February 18, Breuer will present selections of old and new works. Then, in part two in mid-March, he will reorganize the gallery into a space that resembles a darkroom, emphasizing the artist’s process of creating a picture.
Breuer will lecture on his work in March .