We are proud to present eight artists who explore the motif of the ocean, each with a different aesthetic approach.
For thousands of years, people of all civilisations have been intrigued by the ocean and have pictured it in a diversity of artistic forms. The ocean is the source of life on earth and symbolic of the unbounded spectrum of animate being. The infinite movement of these masses of water also symbolises stability. Conversely, the oceans may also stand for formlessness and chaos and, in the interpretation of dreams, for the collective and personal unconscious.
The works of Amy Friend (CA), Martin Bogren (SE) and Thirza Schaap (NL) are showcased in Switzerland for the first time while the artist duo Albarrán Cabrera (ES) surprise us with a new printing technique of their own invention. Jeffrey Conley (US) and Paul Cupido (NL) enchant us with their pigment prints on Japanese Kozo paper. With Sandro Diener we opened the Swiss gallery eight years ago. The eight artists all take the perspective that we have as human beings and viewers standing on the shore.
In Amy Friend's (1974, CA) pictures, the ocean is transformed into a memory of times past, brought to life by the artist as delicately scattered, dancing points of light, radiant and motionless at once. To this end, she gives her prints a surprising and particularly weighty materiality: after immersing the prints in seawater, she lays them out to dry for several weeks until the water has completely evaporated, leaving behind a surface covered with crystalline traces of salt.
Thirza Schaap (1971, NL) reveals the formative power of the ocean. She collects plastic debris that has been shaped and polished by the water and finally washed ashore on the beaches of South Africa. Out of these she makes subtle sculptures, wresting beauty from ugliness in remarkably modern and colourful works. The series of pictures, which she calls Plastic Oce-an, is as aesthetic as it is disquieting.
Martin Bogren (1967, SE) draws viewers' attention to the shoreline life of oceans. His black-and-white photographs show the ocean as a source of energy and life, in documenting the unbridled joy and extreme bodily experience of plunging into the sea. The water is almost physically palpable.
Albarrán Cabrera's _(_1969, Barcelona) virtuoso printing techniques – cyanotypes on aluminium plates and pigments on Japan paper over gold leaf – transport us to places of memory and imagination. Their ocean images feature a compelling combination of sensitivity to their craft and nostalgic aesthetics, contributing substantially to the artist duo's success as con-temporary photographers. The sensuous and poetic presence of their ocean images is indebted to the masterful application of relief, colouring and texture in the printing process.
Thomas Hoepker (1936, US/DE) studied art history and archeology, then worked as a photographer for Münchner Illust-rierte and Kristall between 1960 and 1963, reporting from all over the world. He joined Stern magazine as a photo reporter in 1964. Magnum began to distribute Hoepker's archive photographs in 1964. He worked as cameraman and producer of documentary films for German television in 1972, and from 1974 collaborated with his wife, the journalist Eva Windmoeller, first in East Germany and then in New York, where they moved to work as correspondents for Stern in 1976. From 1978 to 1981 Hoepker was director of photography for the American edition of Geo. Hoepker worked as art director for Stern in Hamburg between 1987 and 1989, when he became a full member of Mag-num. Specialising in reportage and stylish color features, he received the prestigious Kulturpreis of the Deutsche Gesell-schaft für Photographie in 1968. He was president of Magnum Photos from 2003 to 2006. A retrospective exhibition, showing 230 images from fifty years of work, toured Germany and other parts of Europe in 2007. Today Hoepker lives in New York.
Sandro Diener (1975, CH) was born in Zurich, where he still lives and works. He embarked on his career as an assistant at a film and photographic studio near Zurich, where he worked with several big names in advertising photography. He then spent many years as assistant to Jost Wildbolz. Familiar or foreign terrain: in Sandro Diener's photography everything coalesces in a topography that is both timeless and placeless. Cliff formations are turned into a stage and clouds set a mountain in motion. Stone, grass, light and mist are all parts of a photographic painting. As observers, we have the same experience as the photographer during the act of photography. Photography enables us to take a step back from the world. And the same thing that happens to seafarers happens to us. Land suddenly appears in front of our eyes: familiar, yet with nuances of which we were not previously aware.
Paul Cupido _(_1972, NL) graduated with honors from the Fotoacademie Amsterdam in 2017 with the first instalment of his ongoing multimedia project Searching for Mu. He was awarded an artist's residency at the Belfast Photo Festival 2017 and the Hariban Juror's Choice Award in Japan. He since published a handful of books, including the artist's publications Searching for Mu (2017) and Continuum (2019) in collaboration with graphic designer Akiko Wakabayashi. Cupido's work has been exhibited widely internationally, among others at Paris Photo, Unseen, and Nordic Light Festival. Cupido's ongoing photographic and cinematic experiment Searching for Mu is at once a personal and universal odyssey of our fleeting existence in relation to the profound emotional experiences of love, time, and death. Instead of presuming to be documents, Cupido's photographs point to transcendent reflections of the soul and of the intermingling of the microscopic and macroscopic.
Jeffrey Conley (*1969, US) is a fine art landscape photographer who specialises in creating traditional black and white prints. His meticulously crafted prints, made utilising traditional darkroom processes, are made in small and limited editions. His work has been widely exhibited and collected by private collectors and museums worldwide. Two monographs of his work – WINTER, 2011, and REVERENCE, 2018 – have been published by the renowned publisher Nazraeli Press. Conley's photographs strive for a balanced simplicity that evoke his sense of wonder and reverence for the natural world. Scale and palette vary, from small, intimate and subtle, to large, grand and dramatic. In all he seeks to capture a meditative spirit that uniquely defines his approach to photographing the landscape. He strives to create luminous hand-coated platinum & palladium prints that he feels possess a distinctive richness unique to traditional photographic processes.
Press release courtesy Bildhalle.