In Blank Andreas Gefeller focuses his attention to urban and industrial areas, aspects of our contemporary life. Similar to his previous work The Japan Series Gefeller’s youngest photographs bear a perceptible resemblance to drawings or watercolours and oscillate between documentation and construction. Photography’s objectivity and its claim to depict reality are poetically and subtly undermined by Andreas Gefeller.
Using modified satellite images of urban agglomerations Gefeller is offering a view on earth from the orbital perspective. Reminiscent of cartographic elements in his Supervisions series, these images give an impression of the colonization of our planet. Brightly illuminated, they enable us to define city centres and lit streets. The speckled spreading and tentacle-like structure of the urban areas underline the apparently unstoppable increase in urban growth. The deep black surrounding the cities turns the two-dimensional surface of the earth into an endless space, where primeval microorganisms seem to float.
In his large-sized pictures, which were also taken by night, Gefeller zooms straight into the hearts of civilization. Excessively overexposed photographs of building façades, motorway intersections, container terminals and refineries reveal vast faded areas. The normal purpose of artificial light to make things visible is manipulated to achieve the opposite effect. Instead of light, the darkness reveals its secret: What existed before is fading away. Only the unlit and darkest areas could resist the long exposure, remaining as fragments to provide indications of the erased reality. Merely preserved, silhouette-like, totally white—just blank—negative.
The contour-like effect awakens the need for reconstruction and completion of the blank spaces. In the truest sense of the word the photographs leave space for interpretations. Pictures of a chemical industry park resemble architectural exploded view drawings, the series of windows on a building façade seems to enclose a coded message, and stacked containers look like data packets. Almost reduced to structural patterns, the portrayed places symbolize the dissolution of postmodernism. With detail in abundance, the images offer more information than people are able to handle or comprehend. The blinding light of civilisation allows the series Blank to become an allegory of today’s fast-moving and over stimulated society. The artist combines multiple images into one surgically precise photograph that unveil an intimate silence. His specific photographic approach to the world is a philosophical, analytical, intrinsic desire for deceleration.
Text: Miriam Walgate