The Curator’s Introduction to the Artists and Exhibition
Grant Simon Rogers and Markus Lehr are two artists of the atmospheric tradition. On their visual journey they are in search of places of urban and natural scenery hidden from the inattentive eye. They both arrange elements such as composition, light, colours and shapes into photographic stage scenes.
The exhibition MISE-EN-SCÈNE provides the frame to discern the commonalities between the artistic philosophy of the two photographers as well as highlight their strong individual integrity.
The exhibition takes place at Atelier André Kirchner a prestigious home of the Berlin art photography.
MISE-EN-SCÈNE is the cinema term for this particular optical image structure, in which a scene looks almost like a painting. It encompasses the entire viewing experience, enhancing the natural or available light and the colour palette. This, in fact, expresses exactly the essence of the works on display. The two photographers share a love of light, both manmade and natural. They also emphasise the meditative state of experience in their work, which is easy to retrace by a sort of privateness their pictures evoke.
Grant Simon Rogers works with Day for Night, a cinematographic technique that simulates night scenes in daylight. In the history of film François Truffaut made this method well known with his film “La Nuit Américaine”.
He makes all of his photos in daylight using the minimal amount of post-processing, virtually straight out of the camera. He discovers the subjects of his photographs in urban parks, gardens and shared green spaces such as the Botanical Gardens in Bonn and Berlin, Volkspark Hasenheide or Görlitzer Park. Visiting and revisiting these locations again and again, he has become a restless collector of them. These works are part of an artistic journey to a place that the artist calls “Terra Incognita”.
This method of working I now describe as my “shamanic photography.” It started as a tongue in cheek statement but I rather like it now. I do love the simplicity I experience while making these pictures. I can only be in that moment. By being, I am free to look, feel, hear where I am while making these pictures. I am content. It really is that simple. − Grant Simon Rogers
Markus Lehr’s photographs explore the creative power of man. He often takes photos at night – Night for Day – scenes in which he amplifies the light with very long exposure times and achieves a mood where things and places come together like on an artificial stage. His previous experience with theatre work can be detected in this dramaturgy. Using perspective and composition his works often convey a completely new approach to the places shown. He transforms mundane environments into scenes of subtle, surreal drama.
Despite the fact that there are rarely any people visible in my images, I think they are all about us.
There was a time in my life when I worked in a theatre. The moment when everybody left and the stage was empty and quiet was always the most precious one for me. The show was over and the light still directed on the stage, but nobody was watching it anymore. What I am looking for in my pictures is just like that. − Markus Lehr
Markus Lehr’s compositionally accentuated pictures show abandoned urban surroundings with a sense of High Drama. Grant Simon Rogers’ staged Floral Authenticities are association-rich images that have a strong sense of performance. Their aesthetics and storytelling create a mystical and magnetic effect that makes the encounter with the pictures a participatory, vivid experience.