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NOVEMBER 07, 14 – JANUARY 31, 2015

Exhibition view: PYRÉNÉES by Arno Schidlowski



Travelling for several weeks at a time, Schidlowski’s close relationship to his surroundings became the starting point for this new work. Pyrénées documents his personal emotional experiences, creating images that embrace the subjectivity of a perceived moment. It is these emotional experiences that are key to Schidlowski's work, as well as his professional freedom to be able to react spontaneously to situations around him. Once back in his studio, he took time to reflect on the different perspectives in the images that he had taken: “In a dramaturgic arrangement of documentary photography in a series or in tableaus, I feel I am combining reality with interpretation.”
The choice to create a series in the Pyrenees was tied to the personal connection he had built to the land; the artist had been visiting the mountain range since he was a child. However, his ingrained interest in landscapes is not necessarily connected to this specific geographical area. It is the contradictory experiences that we witness in mountainous regions that intrigue him. For example, the fragility of the weather in contrast to the gargantuan mountains or the strange exhaustion that arrives at the end of a long hiking day, which started so euphorically: “It gets exciting when your own biography becomes more and more connected to a landscape and becomes distinctly related to the aesthetic outlook of your work.”

Though he finally wants to show landscape, Schidlowski considers himself not immediately as a landscape photographer in an enclosed, traditional sense. He likes the idea of nature changing into landscape through photography. For him, landscape is based on human references: “Each perception is already a human reference. When I look at a photo and I have all the time I need, I see things and relations I hadn’t perceived when taking the picture. So (in photography) it is possible to solidify personal references and to transform general places in nature into a personal landscape."


There is a sobering aspect to photographing these astounding mountain ranges and many of the photographs do not correspond to the personal emotional experience that Schidlowski feels at the moment the pictures were taken: “For me, it became obvious that the reality of a photograph does not necessarily reflect the reality of perception.”
Schidlowski's previous series, Jasmund, also shows photographic documents of a popular landscape. When exhibited, this work of analogue C-type prints is presented in a strict linear order. Unlike Jasmund, the installation of photographs of the series Pyrénées - edited for Unseen 2014 - presents photographic documents as a subjectively structured panorama where nature takes on various different dimensions. The images are arranged following a spatial idea: “The horizon is the visual element which dictates the entire arrangement of the images. It suggests a complete panorama in which temporal aspects exist together on the same wall.”

text published in UNSEEN Magazine, 2014

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