303 Gallery is pleased to announce our fifth exhibition of new photographic works by Florian Maier-Aichen.
Long concerned with extending the limits of traditional photography into new formal and psychological spaces, Maier-Aichen uses a combination of picture-taking and picture-making as a way to trigger a nebulous conglomeration of personal and cultural signifiers. In an attempt to find new iconographic potential in an increasingly saturated landscape, Maier-Aichen consciously references the past as a way to confer tiered layers of meaning onto his works. "Untitled" (2017), is an ode to Albert Renger Patzsch, who documented the prewar industrial malaise of rural Germany. The beach is desolate and decayed, with a lone figure seemingly forgotten or washed ashore in an echo of lost hope and the entropy of time. In a similarly oblique reference, two small black and white photographs recall the deadpan formalism of Weegee with their use of multiple flashes, as well as the knowing artifice of set design, where natural phenomena (light, clouds) are replaced with elaborately constructed substitutes.
Using pictorial space in another manner is a new series of "Lasso Paintings." In these works, Maier-Aichen upends photography's classical function, indulging a destructive impulse (erasure or coverture via scribbling) to create layered, semi-narrative abstracts. These hybrid photograph / paintings make use of Photoshop's lasso and brushes, tools meant to select and retouch areas of images usually seen as aberrant or unsightly. The "Lasso Paintings" employ a complete 180-degree flip of these functions, turning the brush into a protagonist in ecstatic, gestural reveries. Programmed tools are turned into absurdist, metaphorical commentaries on photography's new infinite dimensions, making delirious fun of their real-life implications in masking or re-creating truths.
Albert Renger Patzsch has been quoted as saying, "... leave art to the artists, and let us try to use the medium of photography to create photographs that can endure because of their photographic qualities." Florian Maier-Aichen seems to subscribe to a new notion of the empirical "photographic quality," one that has been unfolded into a form that leaves no room for Patzch's idealistic separation.
Florian Maier-Aichen was born in Stuttgart, Germany in 1973 and studied photography in Germany and the U.S. His work is included in “Contemporary Photography Forum,” a group exhibition at the Boca Raton Museum of Art, on view November 7, 2017 through April 8, 2018. Recent exhibitions include "Still Life With Fish: Photography From the Collection" Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; "Night in Day" (2014), Los Angeles County Museum of Art; “The Artistʼs Museum” (2010) MOCA, Los Angeles; “The Smithson Effect” (2011), Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City; “Natural History” (2012) Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Museo Thyssen Bornemisza, Madrid (2008) and the Museum of Contemporary Art at Pacific Design Center, Los Angeles (2007). Maier-Aichen lives and works in Cologne, Germany and Los Angeles, California.