Kuno Grommers (b. 1946) uses the camera to capture the spatial dynamics of a static image. Abstract geometric shapes and large areas of colour are the starting point for installations that seem to defy the laws of gravity.
Whereas photography often brings time and movement to a standstill within the frame of an image, Kuno Grommers (b. 1946) uses the camera to capture the spatial dynamics of a static image. Abstract geometric shapes and large areas of colour are the starting point for installations that seem to defy the laws of gravity. The optical illusions putting our powers of perception to the test are the result of Grommers’ innovative play with two important mainstays of photography: light and darkness. These illusions do not involve digital manipulation of any kind, seeing as Grommers’ method of working is analogue.
The wooden floor of his studio, which has served as a reference point in this ongoing series for fifteen years, offers a clue as to Grommers’ working process. Its paint-spotted surface betrays the manual labour that makes these installations possible: weeks of preparatory work, during which he carefully designs, measures and manually builds the composition. Yet it takes only a millisecond to immortalize the result in a photograph. Then he starts the process all over again and there are new spots of paint to testify to the three-dimensional reality of these installations.
The recurrent setting and the ever-changing representation are somewhat reminiscent of theatre. And indeed, Grommers worked as a theatre photographer for years. Like a set designer, he knows how to create an impressive image with minimal means. In his previous work, he mostly placed large sheets of coloured paper and pieces of cardboard in a new perspective. Now he is taking the abstraction of spatiality a step further by creating the illusion of this with two-dimensional areas of paint. The geometrical colour compositions are reminiscent of the style of abstract painting that has its origins in art movements like De Stijl and Color Field painting.
In addition to the series of photographs, this exhibition features three-dimensional works by Grommers. These assemblages, which employ paint and canvas in a sculptural manner, invite new approaches to perspective in their own right. Here again we see an amalgamation of formal abstraction and perceptible reality.
Over the past 15 years, Grommers has made more than 110 installations and photographs that testify to his great skill in the areas of composition, repetition and experimentation. We accordingly published an overview of his work in collaboration with Lecturis publishers in 2017: Kuno Grommers – In Perspective.