Thomas Wrede (*1963) occupies a singular position within contemporary photography thanks to his highly distinctive pictorial language. In various series, Wrede uses the medium of photography to reflect on the longing for nature. The boundaries between truth and fiction are consciously shifted, while the medium's fidelity to reality is also questioned. His silent yet dramatic photographs fascinate viewers by suddenly confronting them with all the facets of human existence of human existence at once–idyll and catastrophe, longing and debacle.Read More
His photographic works repeatedly start from a longing for nature as well as the question of how nature is mediated. At first glance, the pictures in the series 'Real Landscapes' (since 2004) are impressive landscape photographs. However, any attempt to geographically locate these landscapes would be in vain, and on closer inspection contradictions and discrepancies become discernible in the photographs. Using a method that can create mountains out a pile of stones or a large lake out of a puddle, Wrede creates new visual worlds, utopian sceneries that can only in and through photography. He uses props from model train sets, placing these miniature houses and trees in real nature–on the beach or in the snow, for example. Only a small trace of nature is ultimately necessary for his pictorial realities. The illusion results from his skillful use of an analogue wide-angle plate camera–Wrede distorts the sense of scales and reduces distances. Through this simultaneity of staging and documentation, of fiction and reality, a sophisticated interplay of 'appearance' and 'being' emerges, which makes it clear that our image of reality ultimately depends on the respective perspective. 'It is important for me to go out into the world and expose myself to the landscape with its specific light and weather conditions and let it inspire me, in order to then create new image worlds with small and simple means, which exist exclusively through photography, in photography, as photography.' (Thomas Wrede)
Another series in his diverse and multi-layered oeuvre is the 'Domestic Landscapes', in which he documents the artificiality of German amusement parks. The 'Domestic Landscapes' also pursue the motif of the picture in picture by examining photographic wallpaper in German apartments. Meanwhile, his well-known series of 'Manhattan Picture Worlds', document the large poster walls in the big-city streets of New York.
Thomas Wrede has been awarded important prizes, including the Karl Hofer Prize of the Berlin University of the Arts. His photographs have been shown in numerous international exhibitions. In 2018 he had a mounted a retrospective solo exhibition which traveled to the Museum Sinclair-Haus of the Altana Kulturstiftung, Bad Homburg v. d. Höhe; the Kunsthaus im KunstKulturQuartier, Nuremberg; and the Von der Heydt Kunsthalle, Wuppertal. His works can be found in important collections such as the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Landesmuseum Münster, The West Collection Philadelphia, Kunst-am-Bau-Projekte in Berlin for the Federal Republic of Germany, UBS Zürich & Luzern, and DZ-Bank Frankfurt. Thomas Wrede lives and works in Münster.
Text courtesy Beck & Eggeling International Fine Art.
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