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Galerie Obrist presents Peter Schlör – Transforming Landscape


MAIN SECTION | Galerie Obrist (Essen)

Galerie Obrist presents Peter Schlör – Transforming Landscape

Exhibition: 08.09–05.10.2019

Since the mid-1980s, Peter Schlör has been working as a photographer, aside from current trends in photography, and has developed an inimitable style that has made him one of the most important photographic artists in Germany. Schlör has his base in analogue black and white photography. Like Henri Cartier-Bresson, he lets himself be guided by the "decisive moment". Often he waits for hours to study the interplay of landscape, light and clouds and to capture the right moment. Schlör knows exactly when a picture is "right". He is not concerned with the documentary reproduction of a place or the capture of a classical photo motive: "Where" and "what" are secondary. Instead, the outer world is transformed into a mirror image of an inner state of being. In the lab, or today on the screen, he brings the images to the point and -as he says- "breathes life into the pictures".

"For me, the process of photography is a balancing of the inner and the outer world. An intuitive dialogue. The pictures always have an inner resonance, they are landscape and psychogram at the same time." - "I am fascinated by images that are inexplicably deep and unfathomable, even for me, and that unsettle the viewer. In fact, watching things is more important than the things themselves." In spite of the calmness that radiates from these works, there is always the element of the inexplicable and the ulterior that unsettle us. We enjoy the magnificence of the landscape and the forces of nature. At the same time we are also reassured that we are beyond the picture - in safety - and do not have to worry about being swept away like a speck of dust in the next moment. Thus Schlörs images throw us back on ourselves, on pure life as the starting point of our reflection: Especially through his absence the human being is included in the picture.

Here nature and landscape are also the means to reflect the medium of photography in pictures. If Schlör's base in analogue photography has just been pointed out, today his pictures are developed in digital processes. The newer technical possibilities offer greater precision in terms of color depth, contrast and archival stability. But Schlör resists the temptations of image editing programs and limits the digital editing to contrast enhancement and the choice of image section. He says: "Photographs whose subjects are vast landscapes and were captured during highly complex light situations - as, for example, in the interplay of rapidly moving clouds - are beyond the scope of rampant image manipulation. Natural light of a certain complexity can not be manipulated without appearing artificial."

Nevertheless, the digital devices have given us an endless flood of images, as well as an almost unlimited manipulability of the captured image. Schlör's critique becomes virulent in his pictures when he perceives a danger to our senses in the omnipresence of photography and asks us to put aside our smartphones and cameras, to pause for a while and to recognize reality again. Because all that we take for real has considerable consequences for our lives. The question of reality is always a new one.

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Credits: Portrait of Peter Schlör, Transforming Landscape, Courtesy Galerie Obrist