Poetics of Change: A Cultural Exchange Exhibition

29.09 - 20.10.2019

 

Berlin Blue Art is proud to present Antumbra; Absence and Shadows, an exhibition showcasing fine art photography by the artists Giulietta Coates (UK/F) and Daniel Anhut (GE).

29.09. – 20.10.2018

  • Eröffnung / Opening
  • Freitag / Friday, 28. September, 18 – 21 h

Geöffnet / Open

  • Di – Sa, Tue - Sat 12 -18 h
  • Berlin Art Week
  • Sa + So, 12 -18 Uhr

Artists

Curator

  • Renata Kudlacek
poetics.jpg
 

BERLINBLUE art is proud to present Antumbra; Absence and Shadows, an exhibition showcasing fine art photography by the artists Giulietta Coates (UK/F) and Daniel Anhut (GE).

Light, the photographer’s medium, is capricious. When an object is hit by light, it casts an ethereal shadow of itself, an absence of light, not always immediately apparent in its form. Shadows have three distinct degrees of density, each of which has its own nomenclature: umbra, penumbra and antumbra. Antumbra is the outer edge of the shadow, particularly evident in soft light, where it appears as if the object casting the shadow is almost no longer there, such as in an annular eclipse. This ephemeral moment is in a sense the shadow of the shadow, and becomes a true metaphor for, and of, itself. It alludes, as all shadows do, to death, the obscure and the unnamed. But also to transience, absence, and loss.

The grandiose landscape that surrounds me, whilst strikingly beautiful, remains utterly at a distance and unavailable to interpretation. It keeps me from myself, and torments me with its total inaccessibility.
— Giulietta Coates

Both artists draw upon this theme of the shadow of shadows, either through the melancholy of absence, or through what it means to live with the elusive nature of mortality.

In her landscape photographs, Coates depicts the unsettling nature of loss and beauty, dread and longing. Perceptive to the non-apparent, being and non-being, she speaks of this longing as feeling like nostalgia, but not for something once had and has since been lost, but more a nostalgia for what never was. Coates explains, “The grandiose landscape that surrounds me, whilst strikingly beautiful, remains utterly at a distance and unavailable to interpretation. It keeps me from myself, and torments me with its total inaccessibility.” For Coates, this void sets up a kind of death space, where connection and intimacy are longed for but remain forever elusive. Her method then, is to have ‘conversations’ with individual motifs – a rock, a pool of water, a wooden stump – allegories for wider narratives that speak of our mysterious relationship to the ‘otherness’ of beauty, and of the natural world in the face of our own mortality. She continues, “I want to make work that expresses the idea of beauty as signifying that death is ever present. If we didn’t die, I think artists and philosophers would say and make very different work. Perhaps we wouldn’t even make any work at all. For what is beauty when there is no shadow? In this way the creative impulse is intertwined with our own temporality.” Seeing her language as essentially aligned with Romanticism, Coates now feels that photography IS the medium of death and longing.

Look at me, testing a very long heading! Berlin-based photographer, Anhut, constructs atmospheric allegories of loss and disappearance by capturing real, abandoned buildings and creating fictional, narrative moments that touch on the fundamental issue of transience.

His darkly monochrome work captures abandoned or decaying rooms and spaces, now seemingly devoid of any function, and transforms them into new stories as captured through his ambiguous lens, thus inviting the viewer to use their own imagination and resonate with the transient stories held within each scene. For Anhut, the unapproachable, uncanny beauty he has no access to informs his work, he says, “So all of what remains for me is the traces of transience that I can deal with. I am interested in the left-over traces of something that existed and is no longer there, in order to create something new out of it before it disappeared into nothingness.” At times, characters appear within Anhut’s imaginatively staged settings; strange beings which are obscure, blurred and sometimes only just shadows of themselves – as shadowy as the rooms they have been left behind in. In his latest series ‘Wonderland’ Anhut takes us on an exploration of surreal rooms in an abandoned hotel, a journey, which challenged him to take his style further and do something quite unfamiliar. He says, “I even took a rabbit mask borrowed from Alice, to create my absurd and dark wonderland.”

Both artists use either black and white or monochrome tones, which underline the ambiguity and mysterious tension in their imagery.

Curated by Renata Kudlacek

Giulietta Coates, a London born artist, with an MA in Fine Art Printmaking from the Royal College of Art and a previous BA Honours degree from Central St Martins, has for the last 10 years been living and working in a remote part of the Haut Provence in the South of France. Having worked for many years as a woodcutter, her practice is now predominately centered on photography.

Daniel Anhut works almost exclusively in black and white to emphasize clarity and quietness. Due to this reduction, the focus is shifted towards emotion and detail. He uses available, found conditions to create his atmospheres, with light and shadow becoming the most important ingredient in his photographic settings. Daniel lives and works in Berlin.

PoeticsFlaco Zacarias