Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Photographers to know / Link 16 : Thomas Wrede

Thomas Wrede’s work is about our relation to nature. Our longing for nature and the medialized description thereof. With his camera he observes how artificial nature is received in the same way as real nature. This subject matter is well known in German philosophy. Philosophers such as Immanuel Kant and Friedrich Hegel studied the dialectic relation to nature. Wrede thereby continues this German tradition as a photographer, questioning our perception of nature. His last series “Real landscapes” are manipulations of landscapes. By adding artificial details into real nature he creates a staged scene that looks authentic at first. For the observer it becomes difficult to see what is actually real and what is unreal. The resemblance to model construction kits is striking. In effect he creates dreamlike scenes of nature or perhaps even nightmares.

Thomas Wrede searches for sanctuary within an environment increasingly subjugated to man’s intrusion upon nature. His desire for asylum amidst chaos sends him seeking refuge in the infinite spaces that seem to hover at the remote edges of the world. A drift upon endless expanses of beach, snow, and sea, he renders beautiful the quietude of landscape in large-scale images that lure the viewer into their vastness.

All of these photographs share the feeling that the viewer could be anywhere. Nowhere does this anonymity of place more secure the viewer’s ability to lose him or herself within the landscape than in Wrede’s images of snow. Although they are completely devoid of human presence, they are not free from the author’s trace. Wrede playfully places fake plastic fir trees amongst an icy windswept landscape seemingly littered with sharp mountainous peaks. What seems at first to be an incredible vantage point reveals itself to be an otherworldly scene of his own construction.

Thomas Wrede is based in Muenster, Germany.

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