Lori Nix (1969) and Kathleen Gerber (1967) are presenting their new joint series ‘Empire’ as an artist duo for the first time at Galerie Klüser 2.
As opposed to previous series by Lori Nix, ‛Lost’ and ‛The City’, which have already been shown at Galerie Klüser 2, ‛Empire’ is concerned primarily with the external areas of urban structures and landscapes. The richly-detailed photos show the fall of a modern empire after an inexplicable catastrophe: places empty of people and half-ruined architectures that are slowly reclaimed by nature.
In a complex artistic process that lasts for several months, the two Americans apply meticulous work by hand to create detailed dioramas in their Brooklyn studio. The constructed scenarios are then captured photographically using an elaborate lighting system. In order to create the ingenious lighting design, it is handled like a three-dimensional object. The construction of the miniature worlds, with which Kathleen Gerber engages primarily, usually takes as long as the process of photographing, which is realised by Lori Nix. Finally, NIX/GERBER destroy the models and all that remains is the photograph itself.
When engaging more closely with the works, the question that immediately arises is what led to the destruction of the ‘Empire’ and drove away or even annihilated its inhabitants. The viewer is left to find answers to these questions. The images are born of the artists’ imagination, certainly, but they are not far from our own imaginings, either. Catastrophe films and series or current political and ecological developments make apocalyptic events seem ever more conceivable.
However, although NIX/GERBER visualize scenes of disaster with decay and destruction, the images do not seem threatening. They radiate not only a thrilling uncertainty but also a subliminal romanticism. The colours are inviting and harmonic. This lies primarily in the fact that the works of the new series, as was the case before in ‛Lost’, are oriented more than ever on the colour aesthetics of Romanticism and the Hudson River School.
NIX/GERBER also prioritize the inclusion of a little humour in the disaster scenario. Like, for example, the half-buried shopping trolley in front of the triumphal arch in the image ‛Arch’.
One can always see something positive in every catastrophe, even in a post-apocalypse.