Axel Vervoordt Gallery Antwerp is pleased to announce the first solo exhibition of German photographer Markus Brunetti, containing his most recent works.
On the road since May 2005, Markus Brunetti (Bavaria, 1965) is continuously travelling around Europe to capture the facades of religious buildings, using his very own technique of highly technical precision combined with absolute peaceful ambience. At first glance his work seems to resemble New Objectivity-style documentary, but upon closer inspection it becomes clear that he is pursuing a complex selection process and visual strategy based on central perspective, which begins with an intensive research and study of the buildings and facades. From this study - in collaboration with his partner Betty Schöner - he has developed his own visual vocabulary for the FACADES series, in which he follows his subjective impressions to capture the atmosphere, the light, the details, the perspective of a building in a visual concept – a concept that he realizes using the most advanced visual technology.
The FACADES by Markus Brunetti evoke enthusiasm-or a sense of estrangement. For the viewer they raise questions that are often posed today, in the 'age of technical manipulation'. The pictures are digitally captured and meticulously worked out in a time-consuming process. The final step requires printing them on large-format paper so that their presence and characteristics can fully unfold. They challenge the viewer to take the time to carefully observe them, and not to succumb to the habit of rapid consumption so common to our media-driven, visually addicted society.
Extract of ‘Seeing Slowly’, an essay written by David Campany on the occasion of the new catalogue Markus Brunetti FACADES Cathedrals, Churches, Cloisters in Europe, published May 2016
“… After much research and some preliminary photographic studies, a façade is selected. Over a few weeks, or even years, it is then documented part-by-part, photographing no more than a few square meters with each exposure. The separate elements are then assembled digitally into a coherent whole. Although each final image is a subjective interpretation, it is also a hard-won document of unprecedented clarity. Never before have these buildings been rendered in such a way. The fine mosaics, intricate carving, filigree metal work and stained glass are there for us to see, along with the cracks, deformations and decay.
Like all innovations in photography, this project has required great persistence, vision and a lot of problem solving. It involves a method of picturing that actually departs in profound ways from the logic of optical perspective, if only to return to it anew. While photographic in origin, the final images feel as much like facsimiles or elaborate photocopies, as if the building had been mapped or scanned. Indeed, scanning might be the best term here, since it implies a mobile and yet systematic point of view that takes in the subject matter evenly and all-over. The results are not unlike 2D images of detailed replicas produced by a 3D printer. While these images fall within the ever-looser parameters of realism they can feel strange, uncanny even, striking us as much like apparitions as records.
We may find ourselves pondering what exactly these images are, and what they are for. Are they documents to be used? Is there some potential scientific value? Are they for future reference? Are these images acts of deference to the buildings they represent? Are these images for aesthetic contemplation in themselves, or are they portals for the contemplation of the buildings? Are these images affectionate? Cold? Romantic? Enigmatic? Crazed? Sober? Euphoric? Melancholic? All of the above …”