In a time where financial markets are oscillating between highs and lows and the entire world seems to emerge itself in an ever faster spin, the work of German photographer and video artist Christoph Brech could be called provocative. The concepts which the former student at the Munich Academy of Arts proposes in his videos do not follow any current fashion, nor do they promise spectacle. Brecht’s work stands in a diametrically opposition to rapid changes. A random observation, an unspectacular gaze becomes the starting point of a series of videos, in which the viewer is invited to experience time and space in a decelerated form. Whether the artist guides our attention to the entrance of a church, to a river or to the painted portraits of gravestones, the highly aesthetic films always allow us to discover places or events in a new, nearly beguiling way.
One of Brecht’s newest pieces is the video „Der Tod und das Mädchen“ („The death and the Maiden“). In it the string quartet Quatuor Ebène is rehearsing Schubert’s famous piece bearing the same title. During the production four cameras, thus also forming a quartet, focused exclusively on the faces of the musicians. Creating an analogy to the collective sound of the four instruments, Christoph Brech brought the footage together, merging it into a single track. In the flow of the overlapping images, every emotion showing up in the faces of the musicians therefore becomes part of a musical „physiognomy“.
In „Trapasso“ Brech calls our attention to a rather curios reusage of gravestones. In times of hardship, Roman churches did not shy away from using tombstones of clerical and mundane dignitaries to repair stone floors. The countless persons crossing these floors over the centuries have left their traces and deprived the reliefs of their individuality. The video consists of nothing more than the heads and faces of the portrayed individuals slowly blending into one another. An archive of abstract signs emerges, reminding us of the paradox that not even gravestones are a guarantee against decline and oblivion.
A remark by the renowned critic Thomas Wagner poignantly summarised the work of the artist: „Christoph Brech’s images do not describe superficial sensations, nor events in the common sense of an unexpected happening, but the return of the gaze into the folds of a profound and hidden world. They unfold what lies beneath the surface, and reveal what our strained eyes pretend not to see.“
Christoph Brech, born 1964 in Schweinfurt, studied at the Academy of Arts in Munich under Prof. Franz B. Weißhaar. In 2006 he was a fellow at the ”German Academy Villa Massimo” in Rome. In the same year, he was awarded the ”Will-Grohmann-Preis” of the Academy of Arts in Berlin. The works of Brech are part of renowned collections like the ”Goetz Collection” in Munich. In 2008, videos by Brech were exhibited in ”Lenbachhaus, Munich”, the ”Berlinische Galerie”, the ”Museum Frieder Burda”, Baden Baden, and in the ”Museum Weserburg” in Bremen.
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