From June 3 to July 27, 2008
Florian Maier-Aichen (born Stuttgart, 1973) began his studies in Essen and subsequently continued his artistic training in Los Angeles. His working method is clearly different to a particular trend evident in recent German photography influenced by Bernd and Hilla Becher. Maier-Aichen does not follow a systematic programme or use a serial, typological approach. In contrast, he tends to make each image individual in the manner of a unique project that requires a specific conceptual, aesthetic and technical approach.
Among his preferred subjects are mountain landscapes (a recurring theme in German Romantic painting, whose greatest exponent was Caspar David Friedrich) and the Californian coastline. These images are notably indebted to 19th-century panoramic painting and photography of a monumental type. They offer a theatrical and Sublime representation of nature in which the landscapes are markedly stylised, exploiting to the limit the pathos inherent in their contemplation. To do so they use unusual and even extreme viewpoints, taken from helicopters or from mountain peaks in the manner of the early topographical artists. In addition these photographs reveal a remarkable control of formal aspects such as the framing of the composition and size of the image (often large-format), the density of light and above all the use of an unusual colour range that is closer to painting than photography.
Maier-Aichen’s images, taken with large-format analogue cameras, are the result of a careful process of digital manipulation. Each image encompasses a microcosm that responds to a rigorous sense of composition and internal organisation in which the real and the virtual are not clearly differentiated. His work places the viewer in an ambiguous situation between the immediate recognition of the terrain that these landscapes depict and the unique beauty and disturbing attraction with which they are imbued.