Artist: Heimo Zobernig
Venue: Nagel Draxler, Berlin
Date: March 14 – June 20, 2020
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of Nagel Draxler, Berlin
For a few years now Heimo Zobernig has been going outdoors with his camera to photograph plants. An experiment for him. He is not nostalgic. Zobernig is always interested in the latest technical possibilities. A digital camera can nowadays easily record sequences of 20 frames per second. The best picture may be that which cannot be made “consciously” at all, but one from the sequence that the machine takes when its release button is pressed (“It” photographs). In the magic moment Roland Barthes once called “punctum”, the machine makes the perfect picture. The art is above all to recognize it. The relationship between tools and artists is shifting. Authorship is not 100% autonomous – it has never been. High-speed cameras and their possibilities come closer to the image that photography has always dreamed of, the image of an imperishable presence of the captured. But they cannot do without the view, which filters out the decisive picture from a number of similar ones.
Painting approaches this moment, the moment of aesthetic experience which art has been trying to catch up with since the beginning of modernity, in a different way. Painting is always “made”. Back in the studio, Zobernig blanks out his photo experiment. The idea of “doing something” with the photos takes a back seat. In front of the canvas, he doesn’t even think that it might have something to do with his current production. How do you approach the “unmade” with painting? Make a painting and then paint it again and again. After the first repetition, the focus is no longer on the motif, but perhaps on the painting process or, as with the camera, on the sequential automatism. The aim is apparently not to reach perfection in painting as with Asian copying techniques. On the contrary, maybe it is possible to unlearn “making” in repetition, and then the perfect picture happens by accident. The art here is to see it.