In front of a pale, milky background, branches of a Chilean araucaria are bending and twisting like
tentacles. The diffuse light partly swallows their contours and directs the glance towards the dark
depths of the dense structures and into the impenetrable thicket of ramifications and spiky leaves,
arranged like spiraling scales. These bizarre formations are not embedded in any recognizable spatial
context but removed from a particular place. Emerging mysteriously from a hazy, veil-like atmosphere,
they seem to appear out of nowhere. Like in Andreas Gefeller´s former series „Blank“, certain parts of
the images in his recent series “The Backside of Light” are almost eliminated by an exceeding incidence
of light. By means of overexposure and time exposure the unifying contours become blurred by
brightness, so that the overall impression becomes unclear and lacks coherence. At the same time,
chaotic inner structures, formerly obscure areas, are revealed to the eye. The sense of sight is irritated
in its attempt to create a consistent picture through the superficial recognition of basic forms when
suddenly confronted with an abundance of detail, which comes to unfold at a much later point in the
course of the neuronal perception process.
The image of a birch forest oscillates between shadowy patches and clear-cut linear outlines,
challenging the viewer to squint and focus anew. Some trees are extinguished by a smooth whiteness,
which corresponds to the tonal quality of the paper. The characteristic surface structure of the stems is
erased. Just like a paper cutting the shapes of the trees come into being merely through their
delimitation from surrounding space. These contrasting features of light and dark, positive and negative,
shape and surface, image and paper must be evaluated again and again, in order for recognition to
finally set in.
Due to the prevalence of areas annihilated by lightness, or strikingly blank areas, the images appear
unfinished or incomplete, pointing to the limitations of vision or, in a further sense, the restrictions of
consciousness or knowledge. Such perturbances might refer to the “noise of the medium”, the faults
and defects inherent in the carrier of information, or else, the inhibitions of the perceptive process.
Gefeller questions photography and sight as revelatory means, through which we gain insight into our
Captivated by the engaging effect of the photographs, the viewer lacks all reference points in order to
be able to allocate the depicted motif in time and place, becoming estranged from the setting.
Moreover, a certain artificial semblance allows for an additional question to arise, regarding the real or
virtual nature of what is shown. It is at this interface, where reality and simulation, documentation and
digital manipulation meet that Gefeller reflects on the permeation of natural and computer-generated
worlds. The concept of reality, as well as that of the image, is currently undergoing a radical shift in meaning.
At the same time, reality and his immediate surroundings prove to be the point of departure for Andreas
Gefellers generation of images. On some photographs, delicate white lines overlap erratically in lopsided
figures, giving rise to a fine drawing on a black ground. In order to achieve this effect, Andreas Gefeller
has captured reflections of a LED street lantern within an exposure time frame of a few seconds. The
pulsating light dots dancing on the black surface of the water in the port of Düsseldorf leave visible
traces of their movement on the rippled darkness. Whereas the disrupted lines, which are caused by the
frequency of the light waves, resemble signal chains, codes and, therefore, communication, the
interaction of water and light allows for the visualization of the contrast between matter and radiation,
or rather, original matter and highly modern technology.
Andreas Gefeller´s works are imbued with the subtle poetry of intense observation. Driven by an almost
scientific zeal and enthusiasm for natural phenomena, Gefeller seeks to disclose images beyond
superficial appearances, installing a level of subjective interpretation and reflection in his works. In
revealing traces and pointing out structures, he does not merely give way to his fascination for creation
and an intense observation of a changing environment. Rather, Gefeller directs a ray of light onto
existential questions. With a sensitive intuition Andreas Gefeller lays open the ample associative
potential inherent in such superficial apparitions, revealing the cosmic dimension of everyday
phenomena. Whether he captures the sparks of a campfire or the tender fabric of a moth, the fleeting
texture turns into the All-Over of a universal structure.
(Bettina Haiss, 2018)