Between 2012 and 2013 Axel Hütte, German photographer counted among the most significant members of the Düsseldorf School, devoted himself to an artist residence in the Modena Apennines, during which he took pictures so far unpublished. These, like other large format prints belonging to the series Glaciers (1997-2002), Water Reflections (1998-2007), Caves (2008) and New Mountains (2011-2013) will be on display until the end of June in the Foro Boario of Modena, detached location of Photography Foundation whose spaces of the former St Augustine’s Hospital are undergoing a major re-qualifying restoration.
The large format of the nineteen photographs allows you to perceive an immediate and transparent concentration of the artist on the themes of natural landscape, often conducted by a neutral stylistic approach of documentary photography and emphasized by his passion for traveling anywhere in the world. At the end of the Nineties he was particularly interested in wild places – Arctic glaciers, rainforests, deserts and streams of water – where any human trace is completely absent and where the point of view of the photographer is always deliberately ambiguous: from above or blatantly frontal, the gaze guides the viewer into a dreamlike and unreal world, a world populated by ghosts which suggested the title of the exhibition and gives a sense of mystery to the whole work.
Long exposure times and suspended atmosphere characterize each photograph, they are a common thread that runs through all sets of Hütte which, on the other hand, differ significantly in the representations and the stylistic choices, which could be called “sensory”: the details of Glaciers, furrowed by bluish glow and rich transparencies seem to emanate perennial ice, the reflexes of Water Reflection take us into a surreal dream dominated by moving and evanescent traces like visions produced by mirrors. Often compared to great artists of the past, from Claude Monet’s Waterlilies to informal paintings by Mark Rothko with the fields of color that may have been a model – you do not know how conscious – for the photographs of Caves series, Axel Hütte can tell with his camera the hidden protagonist of the landscape, to reveal their secrets and bring the truth to light. “The truth – said the artist – lies in the eye of the observer .”
Sinxteen years after his last solo show in Italy, Hütte now will be paid a double homage: after the exhibition in Modena which will be held in June, at Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa in Venice – in conjunction with Architecture Biennale – another exhibition will be held where you can see a series of works whose subject are the Venetian palaces, once again shot specifically for the show.
Axel Hütte. Ghosts and Reality
12 April to 29 June 2014
Modena, Foro Boario
by Filippo Maggia
in collaboration with
Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, Venice
Foundation Photography Modena
Tel 059 239888 | 335 1621739