For the first time, the exhibition SUBJECT and OBJECT. PHOTO RHINE RUHR will examine the relationships between the different photographic positions that have developed in the cities of the Rhineland as well as the Ruhr and at the regions’ art academies since the 1960s. This unique approach is due to the fact that such a rich photography scene was able to develop in western Germany, which has repeatedly produced new and innovative artistic positions with sometimes very different photographic approaches over the past 70 years. According to the thesis, on the one hand this is due to the density of art academies and trade schools that developed in the Rhine and Ruhr regions after the Second World War. On the other hand, it is also a result of artistic socialization through an intensive art-historical discourse, parallel artistic developments within the visual arts, and the engagement with positions of international art that were shown at the major institutions in Düsseldorf, Essen, Cologne, Krefeld, and Mönchengladbach since the 1960s.
The exhibition presents central positions from three generations as well as similarities and differences between the artistic approaches, with a focus on positions that have received less attention. The exhibition SUBJECT and OBJECT. PHOTO RHINE RUHR with about 100 artists and more than 600 works undertakes a dialogic and thought-provoking examination of this development for the first time.
Artists: Gosbert Adler, Alexander Basile, Lothar Baumgarten, Bernd & Hilla Becher, Max Beck, Boris Becker, Laurenz Berges, Eva Bertram, Anna + Bernhard Blume, Rudolf Bonvie, Natascha Borowsky, Wendelin Bottländer, Frank Breuer, Joachim Brohm, Ralf Brueck, Susanne Brügger, Louisa Clement, Volker Döhne, Sabine Dusend, Christine Erhard, Jan Paul Evers, Julian Faulhaber, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Annette Frick, Bernhard Fuchs, André Gelpke, Edith Glischke, Philipp Goldbach, Stefanie Grebe, Andreas Gursky, Willy Gursky, Beate Gütschow, Jitka Hanzlová, Volker Heinze, Katlen Hewel, Candida Höfer, Axel Hütte, Arno Jansen, Bernd Jansen, Irmel Kamp, Jürgen Klauke, Astrid Klein, Fatih Kurceren, Alwin Lay, Tamara Lorenz, Knut Wolfgang Maron, Meisterklasse Timm Rautert 2005 (Frank Berger, Viktoria Binschtok, Kristleifur Björnsson, Florian Ebner, Ulrich Gebert, Göran Gnaudschun, Falk Haberkorn, Sven Johne, Stephanie Kiwitt, Alexej Meschtschanow, Ricarda Roggan, Adrian Sauer, Dirk Scheidt, Linda Weiss, Tobias Zielony), Klaus Mettig, Peter Miller, Christopher Muller, Angela Neuke, Thomas Neumann, Simone Nieweg, Elisabeth Neudörfl, Detlef Orlopp, Peter Piller, Johannes Post, Timm Rautert, Max Regenberg, Johanna Reich, Heinrich Riebesehl, Sebastian Riemer, Andrea Robbins + Max Becher, Alexander Romey, Tata Ronkholz, Martin Rosswog, Thomas Ruff, Gregor Sailer, Jörg Sasse, Martina Sauter, Morgaine Schäfer, Michael Schmidt, Stefan Schneider, Berit Schneidereit, Ursula Schulz-Dornburg, Wilhelm Schürmann, Helmut Schweizer, Katharina Sieverding, Otto Steinert, Thomas Struth, Anett Stuth, Niklas Taleb, Peter Thomann, Anna Vogel, Walter Vogel, Malte Wandel, Moritz Wegwerth, Christoph Westermeier, Christopher Williams, Petra Wittmar, Lothar Wolleh, Martin Zellerhoff
Curated by Ralph Goertz with Gregor Jansen and Dana Bergmann
Works of the series "Election Night" at Sammlung Philara
Envisioning a heightened situation of reality: On the Works of Moritz Wegwerth
by Lisa Long
The first time I visited Moritz Wegwerth in his studio, a dark purple print with a seemingly fuzzy, grainy, and textured surface caught my eye. I inquired about the piece and Wegwerth laughed, as it wasn’t a work he would ever consider showing. Still, he appreciated this print as it reminded him of the camera’s failure. He had taken the picture on a moonless night in rural Maine. The camera, pointed at the surface of a lake with almost zero reflection, continuously searched for some light source and ended up taking a picture of itself, or rather its inner mechanics. Without enough light, the camera wasn’t able to do what it was programmed to do. What we see is the camera’s failure at “seeing” anything. Formally, this photograph is not representative of Wegwerth’s artistic practice yet it underlines the importance of the artist’s approach to the (digital) camera as an apparatus: know your device and work against it, test it, bring it to the limits of what is possible and then take it one step further. Envision what it fails to do. Ultimately, this means turning “an automatic apparatus against its own condition of being automatic.”1
The word “envision” here refers to Vilém Flusser’s definition of the term in relation to “technical images.” According to Flusser, the technical image is an “envisioned surface,” a computation and a concept with a hallucinatory power that has lost faith in rules.2 “Technical images arise in an attempt to consolidate particles around us and in our consciousness on surfaces to block up the intervals between them in an attempt to make elements such as photons and electrons, on the one hand, and bits of information, on the other hand, into images.”3 To do so, the photographer must rely on an apparatus, which makes the “stuff to be envisioned” visible and graspable through keys.4 Flusser writes: “The apparatus does as the photographer desires, but the photographer can only desire what the apparatus can do […] Technical images result from a gesture that is doubly self-involved, from an intricate opposition and collaboration between the inventor and the manipulator of the apparatus and an opposition and collaboration between an apparatus and a human being.”5
As the anecdote in the introduction suggests, this doubly self-involved gesture runs through Wegwerth’s practice. First utilizing the possibilities of the apparatus, the artist works with and against the coded information transferred from the digital memory of the camera to the digital memory of the computer. Once framed by the computer screen, Wegwerth begins to intervene, layering, copying, pasting, extracting, and exchanging elements of the image until the composition is complete. This composition process culminates in a composite image, which, as William J. Mitchell argues, is more like a painting then a photograph. According to Mitchell, digital images are characterized by their mutability; therefore, “(c)omputational tools for transforming, combining, altering, and analyzing images are as essential to the digital artist as brushes and pigments to a painter.“6 Although a painterly process can be attributed to Wegwerth’s approach, taking a closer look reveals that he uses historically rooted, photographic means. He begins with a ocumentary impulse, which he then abandons in favor of a manual construction of images within and against the limitations of the digital apparatus.
In his examination of digital cinema, Lev Manovich explains that the manual construction of images found in digital media is not new nor an exception in the history of visual representation. Instead, it is the concept of the indexical image – the assumed document of reality recorded by an automated apparatus, namely the camera, – that is the exception. For Manovich, digitally composited images are the continuation of a process already established in nineteenth century forms of combination printing, in which two or multiple photographs were smoothly joined to create one image. The works of Henry Peach Robinson, William Notman, and Oscar G. Reijlander are prominent examples of this composite techniques.7 According to Jeanne Willette, these photographers—like painters—were “making” images,and were therefore working toward the idea of the photograph as a work of art.8 In the following twentieth century, this claim of “making images” was discredited as artificial trickery by many photographers and theorists alike. Their claim to truth emphasized photography’s objective and indexical or documentary character. For example, German photographer August Sander insisted on photography’s documentary nature, stating he hated nothing more than “sugary photographs with tricks, poses and effects.”9
For Wegwerth, compositing is not a sugary trick but a consequence of working with a digital apparatus and a means to produce images, making no claim to simple or mimetic depictions of lived experience but rather investigate the world of the image. Through digital composite techniques, Wegwerth first breaks apart and then combines and superimposes potentially endless visual layers, envisioning a heightened situation of reality. Through a long period of experimentation, perpetual (re)combination eventually leads to the final image. The result, as seen in NEWS, 1540, and BETTERSTARTSNOW (all 2018) enables the viewer to experience a simultaneity and compression of time and space, meaning and expression. On the one hand, this has to do with the multi-perspectival collage of different visual layers, determined by the computer as an apparatus that acts as both screen and frame. On other hand, it has to do with the visual thickness of signs within the images as document.
As stated by Anne Friedberg in her seminal book The Virtual Window: From Alberti to Mircosoft, “(t)he computer ‘window’ shifts its metaphoric hold from the singular frame of perspective to the multiplicity of windows within windows, frames within frames, screens within screens.” Therefore, “[…] the vernacular ‘space’ of the computer screen has more in common with surfaces of cubism—frontality, suppression of depth, overlapping layers—than with the extended depth of Renaissance perspective.”10 In Wegwerth’s compositions, frontality, suppression of depth, and overlapping layers are clearly visible, reminding us of the multi-perspectival and fractured modernisms of cubism, dada collage, and other avantgarde movements. Windows Open Simultaneously (First Part, Third Motif) (1912) by Robert Delaunay or Estate (1963) and Archive (1963) by Robert Rauschenberg quickly come to mind. While Wegwerth’s digital production process emphasizes this multiplicity, his photographic approach is grounded in the idea of documenting a situation from multiple perspectives; an approach stemming from adapted forms of New Objectivity found in the works of Hilla and Bernd Becher known for their typological series of German industrial architectures. The photographic series exhibited by the Bechers, in which only one perspective of each building is depicted, are actually the result of a process beginning with a 360° documentation of their motif from up to eight different points. “Abwicklungen,” as they are called, can be translated as “phases” or “processes,” and they precede the final mono-perspective image. Bringing the digital and documentary together, Wegwerth’s approach can, to a certain extent, be considered post-indexical. One might even go so far as to say it is post-Cartesian.
In addition to the multi-perspectivalism of Wegwerth’s works, he further complicates our viewing experience by intentionally obstructing the horizon line. Obscuring the horizon not only undermines our depth perception, flattening perspective, but also alludes to the viewer’s phsyical position in the world. Unless we are looking out across a vast flat landscape or are elevated up off the ground by a support system, rarely are we humans able to discern the horizon in the distance. Yet, in most photographs, it is annoyingly present.
1540 is part of a group of new works in which various perspectives or “scenes” of Times Square have been photographed and combined. Each image is made up of multiple shots. For the most part, the different layers and elements do not reveal themselves to the viewer. The photographs were taken around 2 a.m. on November 9, 2016 moments after Donald Trump won the 54th US presidential election. Wegwerth, who had participated in the Skowhegan School of Art summer program, remained in New York City to witness the election spectacle.
In the work NEWS, an ABC News stage in the middle of Times Square is being deconstructed by a group of ten men on an otherwise already evacuated site. Although the image is extremely dense—filled to the brim with architectural glass and screen surfaces, stage elements, lights, signs, cranes, barricades, tents, containers, news and surveillance cameras—there is a sense of vacancy, or uncanny uncertainty. This uncanny state is heightened by the illusion of daytime; the lights and screens of Times Square produce a perpetual, artificial day. Surrounded by New York’s looming towers and by the endless flow or scroll of moving images, flashing signs, and billboard advertisements, these men seem minute compared to the colossal architecture and flood of information, of ideology, swirling around them.
Like Wegwerth’s artworks, Times Square—one of New York’s most sought out sites with up to 330,000 visitors everyday—is an assemblage of different types of surfaces, screens and (moving) images. Its current architectural and infrastructural make-up is a result of t the Walt Disney Company take-over, who bought the New Amsterdam Theatre and “disneyfied” the area in the mid-1990s. Times Square has been transformed by the screen into an “architecture of spectatorship,“ a term taken from Friedberg’s writings. “As an architectonic element, the screen negotiates the paradoxical relations between mobility and immobility, materiality and immateriality.11 Similarly, Wegwerth is also trying to find a balance between materiality and immateriality, the virtual and the concrete. When the composition process is finished, the work is printed, fixing the previously still exchangeable pixels to a material surface. In doing so, the digital image becomes concrete. And, subsequently transferred to the gallery or museum wall, the digital space of the camera and computer is embedded into the real space of the exhibition.
For Wegwerth, the composited, final image is more important than the modernist dogma of photograph as document. Yet, this does not mean his works are fully constructed in digital space and therefore “fake.” In fact, they are snapshots and fragments of our world combined. In this way, Wegwerth uses the apparatus of the digital camera and computer to create a work of art, reflecting the virtual, abstract, and concrete states of its media and existence.
Coming back to the idea of the technical image coined by Flusser: “The abstract particle universe from which we are emerging has shown us that anything that is not illusory is not anything. This is why we must abandon such categories as true– false, real–artificial, or real–apparent in favor of such categories as concrete–abstract. The power to envision is the power of drawing the concrete out of the abstract. Perception theory, ethics and aesthetics, and even our very sense of being alive are in crisis. We live in an illusory world of technical images, and we increasingly experience, recognize, evaluate, and act as a function of these images. We owe these images to a technology that came from scientific theories, theories that show us ineluctably that ‘in reality,’ everything is a swarm of points in a state of decay, a yawning emptiness.”12 With these words in mind, Wegwerth’s honest appreciation of the camera’s failure is reassuring indeed.
1) Vilém Flusser, Into the Universe of Technical Images, trans. Nancy Ann Roth (Minneapolis: University of
Minnesota Press, 2011),19.
2) Ibid., 10.
3) Ibid., 16.
5) Ibid., 20.
6) William J. Mitchell, The Reconfigured Eye: Visual Truth in the Post-photographic Era (Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 1992), 7.
7) Lev Manovich, “To lie and to act: Potemkin's villages, cinema and telepresence – notes on Checkpoint 95,” in Mythos Information – Welcome to the Wired World (Vienna/New York: Springer Verlag, 1995), 9. link
8) Jeanne Willette, “Composite Photography in Victorian Times,” last modified September 18, 2015, link
9) Robin Gillanders, “August Sander,” in Professional Photographer, April (2011), 82.
10) Anne Friedberg, The Virtual Window: From Alberti to Microsoft (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2009), 3.
11) Ibid., 21.
12) Vilém Flusser, Into the Universe of Technical Images, 38.
Where do we, and our digestion of images, information and facts, stand in the age of digital excess? A recent show at Rod Barton gallery in London brought together two artists—Kristian Touborg from Denmark and Moritz Wegwerth from Germany—to consider the current position we find ourselves in. Wegwerth’s images focus on Times Square, as workers disassemble the stage after Donald Trump’s election success, surrounded by gaudy, flashing advertising imagery. Touborg creates imagined archaeological items from a near future society. Here, they talk about data collection, their visions of the future and their reasons for staying positive.
Can you tell me a little about Instant Excess at Rod Barton?
Kristian Touborg: Instant Excess was an intersection of visual streams. It was an exposure of how visual imagery contains its own strata and how the works originate from our belief that what catches the eye in the street is a compilation of layers.
We seek to simultaneously expose and exercise the complex and incessant systems that imagery flows in at this point in time, framed and enunciated by the internet. Instant Excess is a verbalization of the foundation for both our practices: How can an accumulation of artistic frameworks, which focus on diverse means of visual production, which are interwoven with digital and psychical archival methods, contribute to an understanding of the visual culture of our contemporary society?
You were both very well-paired in this exhibition, and were described as working as a visual critic and a visual anthropologist, each exploring similar territory by very different means. Were you in dialogue before the show, were these works formed with a consideration of each others’ practices, or is the match more of a coincidence?
KT: The exhibition is not the outcome of a random juxtaposition of two artists using the same reservoir of visual material, but much more pivotal to us—the exhibition is the outcome of a pre-established, long-term and ongoing dialogue between Moritz and myself. This conversation is not rooted in the production of specific artistic projects, but is initiated as a dialogue that enriches and guides our bodies of work separately. A joint project then came naturally when it was proposed, as we already share this exchange of thoughts and ideas. Instant Excess kept in mind Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s line of thought, as we notice how we influence each other as our data and information creep in only to be merged into our separate practices as the preceding dialogue refers back in time to endless hours of discussions on art and life.
Moritz Wegwerth: Excess made me think of Byung-Chul Han’s book, Hyperkulturalität (Kultur und Globalisierung), which I was reading lately. He talks about everything as being interwoven, a step further beyond hybridity. That is what I think is at stake.
The ideas that came up in the exhibition are very rooted in this current moment in time, where individual behaviour and thought feels very led and manipulated by technology, and where fact and fiction are incredibly blurred. Where do you see this going in the future?
KT: We should expect extreme changes, as the technologies of the future are being developed as we speak. Ranging from virtual and augmented reality in our everyday life as well as environment reinvigoration and AI. Immediately I think of the movie Her—about a man who develops a love relationship with an intelligent computer operating system, which is personified through a female voice. It’s the same type of story that’s told in Michael Crichton’s movie Westworld from 1973, which has recently been made into a series by HBO. This scenario in which technology influences and becomes a central part in how our feelings and emotions are created in a near future stands as a constant reminder to me of how important the true physical and human relationships in life are. I find the way the scenarios unfold in science fiction universes simultaneously scary and possible as technology evolves, and the more I think of it, the more I feel an importance of standing up for the analogue in a world where technology influences almost every aspect of our everyday life, including the production of art.
I’m also fascinated by the possibilities technology brings into the production of art, but it’s pivotal to me to anchor my work in the dreamy seductive authenticity that only materials processed by the human hand can hold. How love can only be exchanged between humans, and how brushstrokes and a visual eloquence of an artist only can be simulated and not replaced by technology—at least not at this present moment in time.
But it fascinates me how artists can shape the future of technology and how we interact with technology, as well as how technology plays a role in the way artists express themselves.
Considering the news currently, data collection is being discussed in a different way to perhaps even when you were making this work. Is this something you’re already both responding to in your practice?
MW: Considering the news very currently, 25 May 2018, the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) decision has a huge impact on how data is being collected, but also distributed. Perhaps even more interesting for long-term implications is how individual countries and corporations are choosing to permit or restrict access to images that can be viewed—who has access to what as visual resources and who does not. The medium still is the message.
On the other hand, with a constant stream of information, I try to take some distance from that and to see it as a system itself and to see the mechanism behind the production. I look at documentation of life through the lens of the “revolution of images”, how they change, reflect and shape culture over time. Early civilizations used symbols, fifty years ago it was more text-based, and now we have come to tech images as our mass means of shared understanding. If there is one nexus in the world where this all comes together it is Times Square. There is a constant stream of images being generated, both put out and taken, and shared across the world. It took layers of complexity to get to where we are now, to give us the multi-perspective experience that we now live on a daily basis.
KT: In my work I try to dive into one of the biggest obstacles of a digitalized society: How do we create a lasting, immaterial storage of data? We are now at a stage where we have the means to reconstruct lost code. If the resources are used, we can change the question from how do we remediate the 1s and 0s, to a question of how we create lasting, democratic, immaterial storage. This means that how and what material should survive from our vast personal digital databanks in the long term are at stake. My work offers no quick fixes in this matter, but I wish to highlight the obstacle as it touches upon all of us as we save photos in our digital clouds, speaking about data as a metaphysical concept freed from material mass and commercial affiliation. It’s a question of who decides how and what to preserve from our digital footprints as well as who has the option of harvesting this information. And most important—who has the option of deleting everything in an instant.
Do you feel hopeful about the future?
MW: The interaction between images and reality and how tech images change reality and the future is under constant construction. I see it as very diverse.
KT: A few weeks ago I became a dad, so please let’s not talk CO2 or clashes of civilizations! I am, in general, an optimist, and I believe optimism is important in molding the future and creating possibilities. So let’s talk about the amazing things the future will possibly bring. In creating this body of work I discovered a glimpse of the incredible evolution within computer visions and the different approaches to it. Machines can now understand objects in a scene and create an impression of what is happening in it. Machines can analyse pictures on our mobile phones and understand the meaning of them; who and what is in the picture. We can interact with Siri.
This is a part of the AI development that I believe we have only seen a single bit of. We are standing on the train platform talking about the Shinkansen train that we know is approaching. And all of a sudden it passes by with the speed and the power of all winds and beasts on the planet multiplied. This is a frightening, fascinating and relevant thought, since we keep producing so much online data and constantly feeding the beasts with personal info (as Moritz mentions).
AI will play a big role in the future in art, which makes the analogue even more important than it is today, reminding us that we are humans. Dreams and visions are vital in the creation of our future.
Rod Barton is pleased to announce INSTANT EXCESS featuring artists Kristian Touborg (Denmark) and Moritz Wegwerth (Germany).
A juncture has been reached in the contemporary moment of our society. The advent of fake news, information warfare, a web held hostage and the commodification of politics have left us in a maelstrom of images that conflict, saturate and construct partisan sides in debates that never were. Anti-vaxxers turn belief into fact, Trump perfects fake-news doublethink and sophisticated algorithms deliver our data to commercial enterprises. At the centre of this rotating nebula of material sits us. The viewers, consumers and members of society who live in world where belief, fact, fiction and opinion hold equal space depending on the weight we attribute to them. The future belongs to images and what will become of them when the context is immutably fluid through the contemporary into the historical.
It’s hard to think we are not all but players on a stage, being subtly manipulated into dramatically ironic crescendo by forces unseen. If the world is the stage for this production then Moritz Wegwerth’s photographs are the tableau for this phenomenon. Times square, disassembled after Trumps election victory, stands at the centre of a cavalcade of advertising imagery. So often it has felt as if we are at the centre of a bizarre Netflix special, and Wegwerth’s images translate this feeling of unbelievable reality with a focus on the gears that drive the social machine forwards. Workers remove the stage, each seemingly engaged with a dramatic narrative of their own yet preparing for the presidency of consumerism become politic. Wegwerth’s aesthetic immediately draws comparisons to the Barthesian tableau photographers who construct their sets meticulously. However, Wegwerth does not setup his works as carefully but rather refers us to the constructivism present in contemporary discourse, it’s fragility and it’s awesome power.
If Wegwerth’s photographs act as a comment on our contemporary obsession with how images act as both tools of influence and of the influencer, Kristian Touborg’s practice examine how fragmentary and impermanent our digital depictions are throughout the passage of time. If our imagery is so pervasive and personal now, where are the lines between belief and fact when the images are separated from context. In an age where data is becoming more than a collection of 1s and 0s, but a harvestable resource to be exploited, the artist creates archaeological reliefs of imagery and data from a near future society. In the same way that re-opening a jpeg file slowly corrupts the present visual information, Touborg meticulously creates a digital catalog of local ephemera using a camera and portable 3D scanner to create a visual library that he then constructs his panels into. If Mortiz Wegwerth is the artist examining imagery’s effect on society, Touborg is the archaeologist examining societies effect on imagery.
If Wegwerth as a practitioner is a visual critic then Touborg acts as a visual anthropologist. Both artists scour and reconstitute visual images from a shared cultural reservoir of content. Both artists ask the question of how we position ourselves between the ideas of belief, relic, knowledge, reality and fiction. Seeing ourselves as both author and construction within the works of Wegwerth and Touborg we are reminded of our relative size to visual culture. Rather it being a total product of ourselves we are a conduit into which singularities pass and reconstitute themselves a new infinitely.
The idea that photography has the ability to represent perception and experience plays an important role in the work of Louisa Clement, Anna Vogel and Moritz Wegwerth. All of them build on a tradition that emerged from their study of photography as a medium. The perception of an artwork is not understood as a passive act to be taken for granted, but rather as a product of cultural and historical circumstances.
The formal manifestations of their work are as varied as the concepts behind them, and yet Louisa Clement, Anna Vogel and Moritz Wegwerth have one thing in common: they are among the first students Andreas Gursky admitted into his fine art class at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in 2010. The interdisciplinary structure of the class (students work with photography along with diverse media including painting, sculpture, video, performance) is a constant challenge to broaden one’s own horizons. Two approaches appear central to Gursky’s teaching: first, that he encourages his students to delve intensively into the history of their respective medium; second, he motivates them to work with current social circumstances. These factors also play an important role in the three artists’ works.
PUBLIC FOLDER 3 / Golden Record (Book)
24 x 20 cm, 344 pages, german/english. Elaborate book design with two thread-stitched book parts, removable text book, different papers, 8paged cover with gold foil embossing, silver print and a folded poster wrapper in 55 x 33 cm.
Contributions by 120 artists like Albert Oehlen, David Ostrowski, Gregor Hildebrandt, Ingo Niermann, Johannes Wohnseifer, John Bock, Jörg Sasse, Justus Köhncke, Lothar Hempel, Marc Brandenburg, Matthias Schaufler, Michail Pirgelis, Mischa Kuball, Oda Jaune, Owen Gump, Peter Miller, Rafael Horzon, Rainald Goetz, Roman Schramm, Walter Dahn, Wolfgang Tillmans, Wolfgang Voigt, Moritz Wegwerth …
Essays by Jörg Sasse, Holger Otten, Claus Pias, John Harten
John Harten (Editor)
Public Folder & Revolver Publishing 2017
Die Möglichkeiten sowie die Grenzen der Fotografie sind in der künstlerischen Arbeit Moritz Wegwerths Dreh- und Angelpunkt der Auseinandersetzung mit dem Bild. Im Foto konzentriert sich die Erfahrung eines einzigen Moments. In einem Zusammenspiel aus Steuerung und Zufall wird ein Abbild der Welt eingefangen. Es geschieht die Transformation eines dreidimensionalen Raumes in eine zweidimensionale Bildfläche. In der präzisen Nachbearbeitung der digitalen Aufnahme sucht Wegwerth nach Aspekten, die dem Foto ihre Relevanz verleihen. Er bearbeitet es bis eine Harmonie – oder besser gesagt, ein Gleichgewicht aus Harmonie und Disharmonie – entsteht, die dem gefundenen Sujet gerecht wird. Innerhalb dieser Herangehensweise lässt er das Spiel mit technischen Möglichkeiten zu. Eine Regel dabei ist, dass Elemente nie hinzugefügt, sondern immer nur weggenommen werden. Dabei sind alle Arbeiten von einer Lichtintensität, von einem flächenbetonten Gleichklang und von einer präzisen Schärfe geprägt. Generell ist die Wahl des Ausschnitts, der Größe der Prints sowie der Art der Reproduktion Basis für eine installative Auseinandersetzung mit dem Ausstellungsraum.
Für die TOTALE 15 im Maschinenhaus Essen erarbeitete Wegwerth unter dem Titel Order from Noise eine raumgreifende Medieninstallation, die den erzählerischen Aspekt der Fotografie thematisiert. Indem Bilder vielfältig kombiniert werden, verbinden sie sich zu einem Pool und tauchen in den Bilderrausch unseres medialen Zeitalters ein. In dieser Fähigkeit liegt ihr Potenzial, liegt die Offenheit des Bildes.
Kuratiert von Anna Czerlitzki (Museum Ludwig)
notworking ...and the sloth hums the song. ...
Wissel / Weber‘s „Vagabund“ is a delivery van that has been transformed into a mobile living space. Available for the duration of a residency, it also comes with 1001 liters free diesel oil. The van is being rented for the respective trip and its interior customized to one‘s own personal needs. However, the privatized and customized vehicle also marks a stage on which the „Vagabunden“ [rovers] appear. On the road and in parking lots, the unit is body, skin and clothing all at once. It merges with the person and the role to become both, display and art work. Wissel / Weber went on the first voyage themselves and invited Moritz Wegwerth, whom they named the first artist in residence of their program, to accompany them in the spring of 2015. The trip began in Hamburg and ended in Herzliya [Israel], where parts of the interior were shown at the [Herzliya] museum for the duration of the exhibition. – Annette Hans
Permanent Collection, Düsseldorf
Every Cult its Castle, Sammlung Philara at Spinnerei Leipzig, 16.09. – 14.10.2017
Alain Verre by Peter Miller and Moritz Wegwerth, which is a duo show as opposed to a show by a duo, at Setareh explored ideas of inversion in photography such as reversals, negatives/positives and opposites. Each artist worked out their respective interpretation through a physical approach employing a combination of various techniques from photograms to cyanotypes to inkjets and video. Sculptural renderings incorporated the cut-out arms from a photogram of a pair of 3D movie glasses presented in the box that usually contains photographic paper for Miller’s 3D (VG), 2009, and his Negative Form 35/1, 2011, which is essentially a fashioned bowl made entirely from a roll of 35mm film literally occupy a unique space that pushes the very idea of what constitutes a photograph.
Wegwerth’s monumental images are constructivist in nature, solid and imposing, but with Flicker, 2015, capturing the light transitions on the stone floor of a church, and Miller’s Kronleuchter I (Chandelier I), 2011, a kaleidoscopic two-dimensional luminogram created from a three-dimensional crystal chandelier there is a genuine sense of the mysterious and enchantment associated with the darkroom process. This is particularly evident in Miller’s beautifully enigmatic Braid, 2011, depicting on one side a photogram of a girl’s braided hair and fingertips, with the reverse showing a photograph of the girl holding that light-sensitive paper in the studio. The flash of the camera’s bulb was used in creating the photogram, and though it divulges the operation it somehow retains the mystique.
Time and light are of course the foundation elements of all photography and so in Miller’s teasingly designed 145 part The Academy, 2016, he has printed each frame from a classic movie countdown (presented in reverse and upside down) there is once again an attention to movement and the historical as well as the temporal and luminescent. In these ways, both Miller and Wegwerth overlap and interact, seamlessly filling the gallery space with a precision of technique and thought.
Barry W. Hughes, SMB Mag
In 2014, the board of the foundation entrusted KIT with the selection of the candidates, who were to be under the age of 35. Together with four professors from the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf and the Kunsthochschule für Medien (KHM) in Cologne, 15 artists were selected to present their work.
Silke Albrecht, Malte Bruns, Frauke Dannert, Alwin Lay, Mercedes Neuß, Nicolas Pelzer, Dzifa Peters, Tobias Przybilla, Felicitas Rohden, Ruben Benjamin Smulczynski, Anna Vogel, Moritz Wegwerth, Kristin Wenzel, Marius Wübbeling, Josef Zky
A Book about Photography as Drawing, about Originals and Reproductions, in between an Exhibition and a Book.
Das Deutsche Fotoinstitut soll ein öffentlicher Ort der Vergangenheit, Gegenwart und Zukunft der Fotografie in seinen analogen, digitalen und hybriden Formen werden. Ein solcher Ort fehlt nach wie vor. Zwar gibt es in Deutschland kunsthistorisch, theoretisch und interdisziplinär herausragend arbeitende Institutionen und Sammlungen, doch braucht es für die Zukunft einen Aggregator, der die Präsentation und Vermittlung, Erforschung, Sammlung und Erhaltung der Fotografie als Kulturgut mit den nötigen Mitteln und räumlichen Voraussetzungen bündelt, die relevanten AkteurInnen zusammenbringt und unterstützt, und so maßgeblich zum nötigen Fortschritt beiträgt. Das Deutsche Fotoinstitut soll die Lücken füllen, die das Netz an oft individuell agierenden, föderal organisierten Fotosammlungen und -archiven offenbart, damit den Aufgaben eines immer komplexer sich darstellenden Mediums auf Höhe der Zeit begegnet werden kann. Sein Ideal ist die umfassende Förderung der Diskussion dringender Fragestellungen im Bereich der Fotografie und ihrer medialen Kontexte zwischen Akteur*innen aus Kunst, Wissenschaft und Wirtschaft im Austausch mit einer globalen Öffentlichkeit.
is an international network of artists dedicated to the investigation of photographic practice. Through a range of artistic, critical and curatorial projects, Time to meet is interested in the exploration of the medium of photography and its attendant issues of representation, objectivity and authenticity. These projects may include, but are not limited to the use of photography as an artistic medium itself. Our intention is to regularly bring together various practitioners in different disciplines as part of Time to meet's commitment to photographic discourse and debate. We feel that this collaborative, nomadic approach is necessary to encourage and inject new ideas and contexts into the practice. A free and open exchange of positions is imperative in Time to meet's continuing adaptability to a progressive and ever-shifting medium.
Class of 2016 | Nine-week summer residency
Aufgang A, 1.OG links
born 1981, lives and works in Berlin and Düsseldorf
2014 Kunstakademie Düsseldorf
2009 HfG Karlsruhe
2005–2008 Folkwang-Hochschule Essen
· SUBJEKT und OBJEKT. FOTO RHEIN RUHR | Kunsthalle Düsseldorf
· ON DISPLAY IV | Sammlung Philara, Düsseldorf
· Next Generations, Aktuelle Fotografie made im Rheinland | Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen
· Instant Excess | Rod Barton, London
· Das Recht auf Faulheit | Galerie Ginerva Gambino Köln. With Alex Wissel and Jochen Weber
· Every Cult its Castle | Sammlung Philara at Spinnerei Leipzig
· Lady Dior As Seen By | Taipei 101, Taipei, TWN
· Louisa Clement, Anna Vogel, Moritz Wegwerth | Galerie Sprüth Magers, Berlin. Curated by Andreas Gursky
· Lady Dior As Seen By | Langen Foundation, Raketenstation Hombroich, Neuss
· Based on | Kunsthaus Essen
· Kumsitz | KIT, Düsseldorf. With Alex Wissel and Jochen Weber
· Alain Verre | Galerie Setareh, with Peter Miller
· Smart Casual | Cubus Kunsthalle, Duisburg
· Doppelkopf | O H A 15, Projektraum Düsseldorf
· Vagabund | Herzliya Museum, Tel Aviv. With Alex Wissel and Jochen Weber, ISR
· Rumour has it, Currents #2 | Marres, Maastricht, NL
· Order from Noise | TOTALE, Maschinenhaus Essen. Curated by Anna Czerlitzki
· Stipendium Vordemberge–Gildewart | KIT Kunst im Tunnel, Düsseldorf
· Grain, Wood, Flax, Turf, ... | Voorkamer Lier, BE
· Everything´s Alright | Master Graduation Show, Kunstakademie Düsseldorf
· En El Castillo | Museo Internacional de Arte Contemporáneo, Lanzarote, ES
· Jardin de Cactus | BEST Gruppe, Düsseldorf
· Transportation/Transformation - A Discussion of Jet Age Internationalism | SoBa, Tokyo. Curated by Milan Ther
· Klasse Gursky Tokio Hiyoshi | Keio University Art Space, Tokyo, JP
· The Reality of The Unbuilt | Raketenstation Hombroich, Neuss
· State of the Art Photography | NRW Forum, Düsseldorf
· Die Erfindung der Wirklichkeit | Akademie-Galerie, Düsseldorf
· The Second Act | De Brakke Grond, Amsterdam
AWARDS AND SCHOLARSHIPS
2016 Residency Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, ME, USA
2015 Stipendium Vagabund
2014 Vordemberge–Gildewart Stipendium
2013 BEST Kunstförderpreis in cooperation with Kunstakademie Düsseldorf
2011 Travel Grant of the Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen
and Kunst und Kulturstiftung der Stadtsparkasse Düsseldorf
2012 Initiator | The Reality of The Unbuilt | Raketenstation Hombroich, Neuss
2011 Co-Founder | MIKRO Projektraum für Fotografie | Düsseldorf
2010 Initiator of the Festival | Sugary Photographs with Tricks, Poses & Effects, Antwerp
2008 Co-Founder of TIME TO MEET | International platform for artists