'I’m not interested in showing how it is. When I photograph it, I want to show how it could be.'
What is important is not so much the technique, but the photographer’s vision. Peter Bialobrzeski’s vision could be described as a seismographic perception of what is to come.
Everything started with a trip to India. There, he discovered his love for Asia and found his own style, which he brought to perfection in the subsequent Neon Tigers. What he encountered in Asia was a certain lightness and ease, and a light that causes things to float. In India, colours are everywhere on the streets. The people dress in orange, red, yellow, blue, and rosé, the buildings shimmer golden in the light, and the sky is light blue. He captured all this—with sometimes long exposures—with an analogue middle-format camera.
After this journey into spirituality—the series is called 'XXXHoly—Journeys into the Spiritual Heart of India', he made an about-turn, and starting in the year 2000, he travelled to the soaring cities in Asia, to Hong Kong, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore. This time, he travelled with a plate camera and caught, usually from an elevated position, broad views of the cities. In India he had the sun, and that was now replaced by neon lights. After spending time in a largely hand-made world characterised by old rituals, he went into artificial modern times dominated by technology. But here, too, colours pervaded by light bring a certain lightness into the densely populated cities defined by office skyscrapers. The neon bathes everything in glittering light, and in the evening the illuminated windows make the massive residential complexes seem transparent. For the light, he worked with long-term exposure, which means that whatever moves dissolves in a kind of fog.
And then another turn. He returned to Germany, and in 2004 he started to photograph German landscapes with a plate camera: Heimat. But he photographed them like paintings, like Mönch am Meer by Casper David Friedrich or paintings by Pieter Brueghel. Because the landscapes of home cannot be viewed in isolation. Memories, things learned, heard, and experienced, lurk everywhere, and our own culture contributes to our gaze.
With his tree volte-faces, Peter Bialobrzeski seismographically anticipated current developments: from a still manageable, hand-made world he went into the world of globalisation and digitisation, and now there is a longing to return to the borders of his own country.
Galerie Albrecht is pleased to be able to show vintage prints—first prints made by the artist himself—from these three series.
Peter Bialobrzeski was born in Wolfsburg in 1961; he lives and works in Hamburg and the world. After getting a degree in politics and sociology, he studied photography at the Folkwang Schule in Essen and at the London College of Printing. He is professor of photography at Hochschule der Künste Bremen. In 2003 and 2010, he received the World Press Photo Award, and in 2012 the Erich Salomon Award of the DGPh in Cologne. His work can be found in numerous private and public collections, including Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, FC Gundlach Collection, Hamburg, Ruhrmuseum Essen, Fotoforum Köln, Museo di Fotografia Contemporanea Milano, DZ Bank Frankfurt/M, Hessische Landesbank Frankfurt/M, Quandt Holding Frankfurt/M, ING Bank Netherlands, Deutsche Börse Group Frankfurt/M, Museo Vaticano in Rome and Uni Credit Art Collection in Munich.
Press release courtesy Galerie Albrecht.