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⤷ PiB Guide Nº55 JULY/AUG 2024

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Group Exhibition

»Models of nature in contemporary photography«

Oliver Boberg, Sonja Braas, Julian Charrière, Shirley Wegner, Thomas Wrede

Curated by Dr. Marie Christine Jádi

Update #2, May 4: The Alfred Ehrhardt Foundation will be reopening on May 5th with its regular opening hours (see below), following strict Covid-19 social distancing requirements and hygiene rules. The exhibition has also been extended until June 21.

Update #1, March 2020: This venue is currently closed due to Covid-19. In the meantime, please enjoy exploring the works in digital form here on PiB. News by this venue are also available in PiB’s article #ClosedButOpen.

What is real and what is fake? What truths do we believe to see? Or is it all just an illusion? These questions have accompanied photography since its beginnings. Today in our contemporary media culture they play a more prominent role than ever before, and they are at the core of this exhibition, which is centered around the theme of “nature” and the imitation of the natural. Replicating a natural form entails different problems than reproducing a human-made form, which is in itself artificial. As true masters of illusion, the artists produce miniatures of imaginary places, seascapes, snow-covered landscapes, mountains, urban spaces, and the forces of nature. It is becoming increasingly difficult to discern the model from the real in photography, which often leaves viewers with the impression of a deceptively real image of nature.

Julian Charrière, Panorama 52° 29' 50.88" N 13° 22' 19.37" E, 2011, C-Print, 70 x 105 cm, Edition: 1/3 + 1 AP © Julian Charrière, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019 / Courtesy Nils Petersen
Shirley Wegner, Night Explosion, 2013, C-Print, 100 x 135 cm, Edition: 3/4 © Shirley Wegner / Courtesy Farideh Cadot Paris and the artist
Thomas Wrede, Haus im Gebirge, 2007, C-Print, 120 x 240 cm, Edition: 1/2 AP © Thomas Wrede, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019 / Courtesy Galerie Wagner + Partner and the artist
Sonja Braas, Forces #21, 2003, C-Print, 170 x 150 cm, Edition: 4/8 + 2 AP © Sonja Braas / Courtesy Galerie Tanit München
Thomas Wrede, Islands, 2008, C-Print, 120 x 95 cm, Edition: 6/7 © Thomas Wrede, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019 / Courtesy Galerie Wagner + Partner and the artist
Oliver Boberg, Schatten 10 (Privatweg), 2016, Pigment Print, 53 x 59 cm, Edition: 3/5 + 2 AP © Oliver Boberg / Courtesy L.A. Galerie – Lothar Albrecht

This is exemplified in Sonja Braas’ works, in which we are violently confronted with the full dramatic force of catastrophes such as volcanic eruptions, tornados, or floods. Inspiring terror and fear, these natural spectacles are also exceptionally beautiful. Referencing romantic notions of the sublime, her images are best understood as commentaries on the omnipresent flood of images that surrounds us.

Thomas Wrede presents remote, unspecified, and inhospitable landscapes in his photographs. For his works, he selects a segment of a landscape, variable in size, where he places model buildings, miniature vehicles, or small toy trees. The proportions within the image shift, giving rise to a sense of confusion on the part of the viewer.

Julian Charrière works in a similar manner, by transforming piles of earth into monumental mountain panoramas that play with one’s expectations of Alpine landscapes. However, the geo-data that form the titles of the works in his Panorama series reveal a run-of-the-mill Berlin construction site, in contrast to one’s assumptions.

The nondescript sites that we find in Oliver Boberg’s images of models of nature are true non-places. He creates miniature stage sets showing the no-man’s-land of ordinary public spaces, which are then photographed. Through an ingenious and experimental use of materials and clever lighting he creates scenarios that seem astonishingly real.

In contrast, Shirley Wegner consciously chooses to make the artificial and constructed nature of her models visible. She does not refer to concrete events in her large-format landscape photographs but draws from her personal visual memories. Constructed from everyday materials, her large-scale bricolages are based on places from her home country of Israel. Combining these constructions with painting and drawing, she records them with the camera.

All five artists prepare the situations and models that they photograph by hand and forgo any digital reworking of the image. Their work unfolds at the interface of sculpture, model-making, and photography, whereby the latter occupies the most significance as the work’s final form of presentation, since the constructed models are often destroyed at the end of the process. Exploring the dividing line between the real and the artificial as well as truth and deception, questioning our perceptions, and challenging our habit of seeing are all central to the approaches used by artists in the exhibition. On the one hand, we are fascinated by this delightful play with appearances, which challenges us to visually engage with the work. We begin to search the images for mistakes, for the tipping point where what we supposed was reality is shown to be artificial, the point where the curtain is drawn to reveal the inner workings of the illusion. On the other hand, we are impressed by the artistic power of the works. The artists do not merely create a reproduction of nature but become creators themselves. Their models show a parallel world, where time seems to have stood still—a world that we explore, question, or simply admire. In this sense, the images not only sensitize us towards looking critically at what we see, but they also invite us to immerse ourselves in these pictorial worlds and their mysteries.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue published by Michael Imhof Verlag.

Framework program

For further details on all framework events please visit the website of the Alfred Ehrhardt Foundation. All events will be held in German. The entrance to all events is free. Please register for each event via e-mail.

Sunday, February 2, 2020, 2 pm
Guided tour of the exhibition with curator Dr. Marie Christine Jádi.

Sunday, March 15, 2020, 2 pm
Artist Talk with Thomas Wrede and curator Dr. Marie Christine Jádi.
Cancelled due to COVID-19 – new date TBA!

Wednesday, April 1, 2020, 7 pm
Series Literaturhaus der Fotografie: “The Natural: An Artificial Product”, reading and talk with Eckhart Nickel on his novel “Hysteria”, moderation: Thomas Böhm (radioeins: Die Literaturagenten).
Cancelled due to COVID-19

Sunday, June 21, 2020, 2 pm
Guided tour of the exhibition with curator Dr. Marie Christine Jádi.
The guided tour will take place for a small group, following strict Covid-19 guidelines. Please register beforehand via email.

Alfred Ehrhardt Stiftung Berlin | MODELS OF NATURE IN CONTEMPORARY PHOTOGRAPHY, installation view, 2020, photo © Carsten Eisfeld
Alfred Ehrhardt Stiftung Berlin | MODELS OF NATURE IN CONTEMPORARY PHOTOGRAPHY, installation view, 2020, photo © Carsten Eisfeld
Alfred Ehrhardt Stiftung Berlin | MODELS OF NATURE IN CONTEMPORARY PHOTOGRAPHY, installation view, 2020, photo © Carsten Eisfeld
Alfred Ehrhardt Stiftung Berlin | MODELS OF NATURE IN CONTEMPORARY PHOTOGRAPHY, installation view, 2020, photo © Carsten Eisfeld
Alfred Ehrhardt Stiftung / Alfred Ehrhardt Foundation Berlin

Jan 11 — Apr 26 extended until June 21, 2020
Opening Reception: Friday, Jan 10, 7 – 9 pm
Framework program: please see above

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Auguststraße 75, 10117 Berlin
[District: Mitte | Borough: Mitte]

Opening hours: Tue – Sun 11 am – 6 pm

Admission free

Preceding exhibition at the Alfred Ehrhardt Foundation

Detail of/aus: Kazimieras Mizgiris, Wind + Sand. Curonian Spit, 1976-2000, silver gelatin print, 19,5 x 29,5 cm © Kazimieras Mizgiris
Detail of/aus: Kazimieras Mizgiris, Wind + Sand. Curonian Spit, 1976-2000, silver gelatin print, 19,5 x 29,5 cm © Kazimieras Mizgiris

Ensuing exhibition at the Alfred Ehrhardt Foundation

Detail of/aus: Isabelle Le Minh, Épitrope, afterAlfred Ehrhardt, 2019, Pigment print on Baryte paper,Alu-Dibondandinstallation of books, 115 x 85 cm and books © Isabelle Le Minh / ADAGP, Paris 2020
Detail of/aus: Isabelle Le Minh, Épitrope, afterAlfred Ehrhardt, 2019, Pigment print on Baryte paper,Alu-Dibondandinstallation of books, 115 x 85 cm and books © Isabelle Le Minh / ADAGP, Paris 2020

»Isabelle Le Minh: After Alfred Ehrhardt – Cristal réel«

June 26 — Sep 6, 2020
+ Framework program

Current photography exhibitions/events recommended in…
Berlin | Mitte

Alfred Ehrhardt Stiftung | »Imagine Another Perspective«

nüüd.berlin gallery | Mathias Vef & friends »UNCANNY«

Akademie der Künste | Michael Ruetz »Poesie der Zeit« Timescapes 1966–2023

Robert Morat Galerie | Simon Roberts »Looking At What Can’t Be Seen«

f³ – freiraum für fotografie | »LIKE A WHIRLWIND – The Gender Plays by Marie Høeg & Bolette Berg«

KW Institute for Contemporary Art | Pia Arke »Arctic Hysteria«

PiB Guide Nº55 JULY/AUG 2024 © PiB (Photography in Berlin). COVER PHOTO: PiB Guide Nº55 JULY/AUG 2024 © PiB (Photography in Berlin). COVER PHOTO: Harf Zimmermann, Palast der Republik, Berlin 2005 © Harf Zimmermann, courtesy Collection de Gambs. Group show »Berlin, Berlin – 20 Jahre Helmut Newton Stiftung« at the Helmut Newton Foundation in Berlin-Charlottenburg. +++ PiB Guide Editor / V.i.S.d.P. / Art Direction: Julia Schiller & Oliver Schneider · www.ele-studio.de +++ Printed on 100% recycling paper in Berlin-Köpenick by altmann-druck, many thanks!

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PiB Guide Nº55
JULY/AUG 2024

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»PiB — Photography in Berlin« | PiB’s website, PiB’s weekly E-Newsletter, and the bi-monthly published PiB Guide: page 12 & 13 from the PiB Guide Nº15 Nov/Dec 2017; feat. the exhibition Evelyn Hofer »Cities, Interiors, Still Lifes. Photographs 1962 – 1997« at Galerie Springer Berlin; image credits: Queensboro Bridge, New York, 1964 / Coney Island, New York, 1965 / Girl with Bicycle, Dublin, 1966, all 3 photos © Evelyn Hofer, Estate Evelyn Hofer.
»PiB — Photography in Berlin« | PiB’s website, PiB’s weekly E-Newsletter, and the bi-monthly published PiB Guide: page 12 & 13 from the PiB Guide Nº15 Nov/Dec 2017; feat. the exhibition Evelyn Hofer »Cities, Interiors, Still Lifes. Photographs 1962 – 1997« at Galerie Springer Berlin; image credits: Queensboro Bridge, New York, 1964 / Coney Island, New York, 1965 / Girl with Bicycle, Dublin, 1966, all 3 photos © Evelyn Hofer, Estate Evelyn Hofer.

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