LandscapeNovember 18 2004 - January 15 2005
Danziger Projects is pleased to inaugurate its new space with the first American solo show of the work of Beate Gutschow. Ms. Gutschow's work has been shown frequently in Europe, and was recently included in the exhibition "Utopia's Backyard" at the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago.
Beate Gutschow was born in Mainz, Germany in 1970 and now lives in Berlin. She studied at Hochschule fur bildende Kunste, Hamburg with Bernhard Johannes Blume and Wolfgang Tillmans, experimenting with painting and video as well as photography. In 1998 she began exploring the possibilities of constructing images by combining and editing analog images with digital tools and established a style and point of view that quickly differentiated the work from much of what was being produced in the digital realm.
In a series of "landscapes" produced from 1999 - 2003, Gutschow connected the traditions of painting, photography, and conceptual art by creating a series of imaginary scenes composed of up to 30 separate photographs taken in locations as varied as forests and public parks. In Gutschow hands these disparate images were reassembled to create imaginary edenic landscapes that paid homage to the 18th century tradition of landscape painting while simultaneously questioning their implied truthfulness.
In this "Landscape" series, Gutschow takes a giant step in using both traditional and modern photographic tools to create works of art much as a painter uses paint. The finished work, rather than being the photographer's subjective or objective view of reality, becomes an expression of the artist's personal imagination and ideas.
In Gutschow own words: "My photos are constructions, even though every single part of it represents reality. They simulate an un-retouched photographic surface, but their truthfulness is broken by their reference to themes from paintings. I do not reconstruct one particular painting. I just use the pattern of landscape from the 18th century. All details are modern, because the composite photos are shot now. Also in the 18th century the pattern of landscape was an ideal. Landscape (nature) never looked like this. In my work ideal means not to exclude the ugliness, it means to construct reality. Another aspect of these images is to question the media it is shown in. We are used to seeing these landscapes as paintings. If we see them as photos we begin to analyze how the media controls perception."
Beate Gutschow is currently working on a new series of images, this time in black and white, that imagine and engage with contemporary urban chaos from the perspective of traditional history paintings.