»Mailand – Licht im Winter«
(Milan – Light in Winter)
When thinking of Ingar Krauss’s award-winning, analog black and white photographs, his melancholic, social documentary portraits of children, teens, or Eastern European migrant workers come to mind—vividly and timelessly. All the more unexpected is his latest series entitled „Mailand – Licht im Winter“ (Milan – Light in Winter), for which the artist was invited to Milan earlier this year by Italian designer Marco Zanini in order to produce Santoni’s fall company campaign.
As with his previous portraits, Krauss searched for and found his protagonists on the street. He then photographed them inside a house abandoned decades ago, just outside the city. Originally, Krauss wanted to combine these images with photos of Milan’s surrounding areas but the winter days were too short and thus only the dark, second half of the day remained. In addition to the portrait photographs, which he took in daylight as usual, night shots were also created for the first time.
The outdoor photographs depict houses, facades, fences, overgrown walls, trees, and shrubs, illuminated by street lamps. They are images taken by the artist on his nightly rambles through the city. At first glance they seem like typical views of ordinary buildings. They also do not necessarily suggest the city of Milan, which is in truth characterized by other buildings. But permeating these quotidian views is a magical quality, an atmosphere and feeling familiar to many who have wandered alone through a strange city at night. Here the artist is following a neorealist tradition: not only are those portrayed in the images “everyday” people, but the locations are as well. As Italian theorist Cesare Zavattini explains, neorealism is about “allowing things as they are to speak for themselves and to be as meaningful as possible.” As a result, nothing is banal because hidden in every instant is an “inexhaustible mine of reality.”
In contrast to people, clothes, and objects that can be moved, arranged, and staged—as with portraits or still lifes—the same cannot be achieved with buildings as experience shows. Here the artist succeeds wonderfully in gleaning details from the city, unmooring what is portrayed from their concrete temporal references; it’s not about Milan as a tangible location— in the same way the portraits are not about photography—but about the mystery of the night itself.
Born in East Berlin, Ingar Krauss (b. 1965) lives and works in Berlin and Zechin. After various activities including working as a stagehand and a caretaker in a home for psychiatric patients, he discovered and taught himself photography in the mid- 1990s. His works have been presented in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including the Goethe-Institut Paris, the Velan Center Turin, Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Kunsthalle Erfurt, ICP New York and the Guardini Foundation Berlin. This is the artist’s fifth solo exhibition at the gallery.
Text: Carolin Leistenschneider
For further infos please visit the website of Galerie für Moderne Fotografie.