from 04.03.1998 to 28.03.1998

Günther Selichar, Robert Kocan, Gilbert Fastenaekens, Thomas Kellner, Jacqueline Salmon, Fritz Simak, Jacques Vilet

After sorting through the material received, this year's theme "Nature - Vegetation" was subdivided into four sections. Since all the artists who have submitted work on this theme were either contacted by Fotogalerie due to their long-term concern with the general topic or were suggested by foreign curators, specific ways of looking and photographic approaches have been grouped together by the team of Fotogalerie Wien.

Gilbert Fastenaekens from Belgium presents landscape as something that has reawakened, as a piece of land that was devastated by war.
With Jacqueline Salmon from France landscape is identified by a "past" and supplied with a reference to this past. The names she puts on her photographs refer to personalities that were of significance for the respective landscapes and for whom this landscape was of significance.
Thomas Kellner uses an approach that has fallen into disuse for many years: he works with a camera obscura and places one detail next to another, creating panorama pictures or patterns of images. This approach seemed to be meaningful for the arid Spanish landscape, where the long exposure time equals the overabundance of light and heat that destroys the vegetation.
Robo Kocan is part of an Eastern European tradition: surreal and ironic elements merge into an artificial landscape. His drawings with light occur in front of defined and visible landscapes and supplement the vegetation by phenomena imagined into this landscape.
Günther Selichar usually blends a seen and an imagined level in his photographic pictures. His pictures in which he calls upon the viewer to "find the difference" motivate the viewer to look closely, who thereby becomes the third dimension of the photographs.
Fritz Simak refers to the origin of the landscape. The unspectacular landscapes under cultivation can be categorized by the plants grown there, the layout of the fields, the weather and mood. These photographs might be interpreted as some sort of definition of home country, which despite all the problems involved is still loved.
Jacques Vilet from Belgium was nominated by two countries and two curators. His idea of art and landscape is characterized by an unusual photographic research and a harmonius distancing effect. He seeks out the original locations of paintings by Caspar David Friedrich, adds a recollection of these landscape of art but tones the romantic document down by taking a black-and-white photograph. The distance to the original painting communicates a greater proximity to the present time.
In this exhibition landscape is reflected in a contemporary manner without any excursions into a virtual world and without any obvious political statements. The surprising fact that landscape as the image of a region allows such a diversity of approaches gives rise to great faith in photography as a pictorial medium that obviously still has a lot of resources.

Jana Wisniewski