With the exhibition LUMINESCENCES, Galerie Springer Berlin is introducing two artists who will be expanding the gallery's programme from now on. The two photographers complement each other in the exhibition in an impressive way. Both have been working and experimenting with light and shadow, and colour and darkness for many years. The results of this process are to some extent very different, but they come together in a stunning combination in the exhibition.
'In the group of works 'Überstrahlungen' (Overexposures), Maria Jauregui Ponte has worked without a camera. The artist has exposed photographic paper in a specially built dark box with colourful light sources, producing unique photographs that are reduced to an interaction of colour tone, brightness and saturation, and in their colourful abstraction are reminiscent of the monochromatic colour surfaces in Mark Rothko's paintings.
— Barbara Esch Marowski
Maria Jauregui Ponte plays with light—and (almost) blindly! This creates images in which colours, lights and lines of light arise a mysterious world. However, her work is the result exactly plannedphotographic processes.
While the 'Überstrahlungen' series has emerged in the laboratory without the use of a camera, the group of works entitled 'Nachtgestalten' (Figures of the Night) features camera shots. Inspired by the darkness of the photo lab, the artist has gone out to take photographs at night, the natural motifs illuminated solely by torchlight. Although darkness dominates the pictures, bifurcations are visible: you see the green, brown or yellow of nature; you recognise earthiness, grassiness and the reflections of bluish or violet light. These fleeting creatures of the night are hard to discern: blades of grass evoke small fireflies or dancing elves; leaves evoke bats frozen in fear or forest spirits. The pictures develop their own secret life-in the viewers themselves. (Dr Katharina Hausel)
The exhibition is also showing works from Jauregui Ponte's 2019 series 'Phosphor' (Phosphorus). In ancient Greek, phosphorus means 'light-bearing'. The light bearer in this case is a luminescent foil again lit up by torchlight. 'In a darkened room, I use the light from the torch to draw pictures on the foil, as with a pen on paper. As soon as the torch is off, these images continue to radiate before gradually disappearing within a few minutes. The short period of time in which the light drawings are visible is enough to capture the images photographically with the camera before they disappear completely and the foil can be irradiated again.' (Maria Jauregui Ponte)
The results of this experiment are fascinating, amorphous and fabulous creatures that appear to have arisen from a 1980s science fiction film.
Maria Jauregui Ponte was born in Hondarribia in the Basque Country in 1972 and has been living and working in Berlin since 1996. She came into photography as a self-taught artist, developed her skills further in internships and assistantships, and completed her training at the New School for Photography in 2013.
The photographer Kathrin Linkersdorff essentially orders her works in open series: open inasmuch as the series are continually being processed further. They are repeatedly adjusted, supplemented, 'tightened up' and renewed. Rather than altering the character and expression of the individual series, this process redefines them time and again. Each series consists of a high level of coherence and through this profile has a wholly different interaction with the other series, whose focus then becomes particularly evident in the boundaries between them.
The titles WABI SABI I, II and III denote related series of photographs in which each one is dedicated to the portrait of a flower. Collectively, these works are characterised by the fact that all the plants undergo a careful drying process in the studio before being photographed. Storage and dosage of UV irradiation give the process a direction and leave traces that become visible in the pictures. Contrary to expectations, rather than indictors of resolution, these traces are instead intensive colours, filigree folds and edges, and pollen and leaf veins. The dead flowers appear more alive than ever, an effect enhanced by the deep dark and shadow-free background. The 'WABI SABI' series are a pool of motifs and a key in equal measure.
The term ‘Wabi Sabi’ refers to an aesthetic sensation that is a deeply rooted cultural tradition in Japan. It is neither a verbally formulated artistic concept nor a manifesto or an explanatory model, and as a title it suggests no interpretation of the photographs. Instead, it is the portraits of the wilted flowers that interpret this term for us. It is worth focusing one’s attention on the interplay of glow and darkness, and to look for the shadow play that unfolds, in the truest sense of the word, between colour and form. It is the interstitial space that is the real conveyor of meaning here. A glow shines out of the deep darkness, giving the already lapsed flowers a beauty that perhaps they never possessed at the height of their bloom.
The latest series brings together the watery element that was introduced in 'FLORISZENZ' and the grouping that characterises the works in 'TRIPTYCHON'. The seemingly alive, dead flowers give off their colour to the life-giving water and thereby dedicate themselves to the ultimate perishing of substance. Or is it maybe resuscitation? This is a decision for the viewers to make, and they can already be surprised at how the plants’ journey continues. (Daniela Nicklas, art historian, M.A.).
Kathrin Linkersdorff (b. 1966) graduated from Brandenburg University, studied at The Berlage in Amsterdam and The Bartlett in London. For several years she lived and worked as an architect in Tokyo, before returning to the studio, to undergo training in Japanese ink painting, and then photography with Robert Lyons at the school 'Fotografie am Schiffbauerdamm'. An independent, practicing artist since 2012 she spends most of her time in Berlin.
Press release courtesy Galerie Springer Berlin.