KEWENIG is pleased to present the work group Morgenland by the German artist Elger Esser, who studied in the 1990s under Bernd and Hilla Becher. It marks the third solo exhibition of the artist with the gallery.
Water landscapes and nature are central themes in Elger Esser's complete photographic works. Inspired by romantic painting and photography from the 19th century, Elger Esser chooses predominantly monochrome and muted shades for his large format landscapes. Through the use of traditional photographic and mechanical techniques, he achieves an extraordinary luminosity and depth, as well as a sense of timelessness and the infinite in his images.
The photographs from the series were made between the years 2004 and 2015, in which Elger Esser perambulated amongst other locations, Israel, Egypt and Lebanon. With palm-lined riverbanks between Luxor and Aswan, as well as the Lebanese coast, Esser captured traditional Feluccas and Dahabieh sailing boats with his 8 x 10 camera. The shots produced in Israel from culturally significant locations such as Akko, the Lake of Gennesaret or Jisr az-Zarqa, were likewise photographed analogue. Like many compositions of Esser's, these works are also dominated by water and far horizons emphasising an expansive sky, conveying silence and the sublime. They stand in stark contrast to the poverty and bloody conflicts, which the media conveys on these regions.
The three dimensional addition to this photographic journey is the workgroup One Sky from 2015. Silverplated copper panels printed on both sides, invite the viewer to move around the work. With the help of a second photographer, simultaneous panoramic views of the skies over the Israeli-Lebanese border are formed. The perspectives - one from the Lebanese viewpoint and one from the Israeli side - convey the desire for exchange between the two antagonised states.
A modified form of the exhibition Morgenland was shown earlier this year at Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art (29 March–21 May 2017), the artist's first show in a public institution within the United Kingdom. A catalogue of the series was published in September by Schirmer/Mosel in Munich.
Elger Esser (born 1967 in Stuttgart) lives and works in Dusseldorf. His works have been shown in numerous exhibitions in national and international museums and reside in international collections and museums, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, the Stiftung Museum Kunstpalast, Dusseldorf, the Kunsthaus Zürich, the Fonds national d'art contemporain, Paris, the Centre Pompidou, Paris, the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich, the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart and the Museum der Moderne Salzburg.
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