Sculpting the shadow
Martin Spengler & Serge Najjar
Opening: 24 June 2016
Exhibition: 25 June - 3 September 2016
Architecture - as a constructive detail, or even as a whole façade - as social unity or as a stage for human Interaction and communication - is an inspirational source both for german artist Martin Spengler (*1974), and for lebanese photographer Serge Najjar (*1973). Documented from unusual perspectives, reconstructed or recreated by changing space and colour, light and shade and set in scene, Architecture becomes a fascinating rediscovery.
Martin Spengler's (* 1974 in Cologne) artwork is about structures, which form certain social occurrences and/or highlight architectonic functions of certain incidents. It is about social basic structures, which exist everywhere. “Standing next to the cologne cathedral as an individual and looking up, or watching a highway crossing from above, I can sense the enormous amount of input, reflection, planning, development, material etc. brought up by so many people cooperating to create it. I also used great force by car-jacks and tons of pressure to create the object „Sollbruchstelle”. We compressed a four meter stele, which I had prepared before, to break on a predetermined point of the sculpture. It can be seen as a reference to the readymade sculptures of crushed cars by John Chamberlain. Recently, I started working on pedestals which I combine with sculptures, wheras each of the component is depending and completing each other to form the object´s unity.”
Serge Najjar’s (*1974 in Beyrouth) approach to photography derives from his passion for modern and contemporary art. He easily references Kazimir Malevich’s “Architectons”, Josef Albers’ abstract compositions, Robert Mangold, Ellsworth Kelly, Frank Stella and Sol Lewitt.
The graphic approach of the Russian Avant-garde and, specifically, Alexander Rodchenko catches Najjar’s interest early on his career: deciphering the image and its construction.
Shadow and light, passerby, subject, worker; thus architecture and man stay on the edge of
abstraction. Whether colour or black and white photographs, Najjar’s body of images forms a coherent sum that emerges instantly, without mediation, as a dance between flatness and depth. Shadows become geometric sculptures; three dimensional shapes morph into planes.
The photographs always create a singular space that is inhabited by the onlooker within the space they are presented in. In a sort of backward movement, Najjar uses photography in the digital age while adhering to an approach that embraces the formal rigour better known from analog photography. Perspectives tilt, the image is constructed, reality is cut, riffled through and rebuilt by the lines that surround us.