Seite I / Page I
C-Print, mounted on aluminum and plexiglas, ca. 150 x 284 cm
Prototypical landscapes and architectural constellations have long been the focus of Oliver Boberg's work. Boberg produces elaborate models of sites and scenes that are markedly unspectacular, dragged into focus from the fringes of our perception as it were. He then stages these models in photographs, which at first glance seem like pictures of actually existing places, often even like places one is sure to have been at before. One needs to be told that the objects in the pictures were conceived and built by the artist; without this knowledge of Boberg's working method, their authenticity would appear indisputable. Boberg's choice of places plays a crucial part in this ingenious deception-he picks the kind of buildings, passageways, storage and dumping sites and the like which one passes almost every day without ever really taking notice of them. As a result, their memorability is rather low, yet they carry with them a distinctive atmosphere that is perfectly rendered by Boberg's suggestive pictures.
In his earlier works Boberg primarily constructed "timeless" sites whose functions and architectural environment were relatively obvious. Later he became more interested in narrative aspects, in the process of change that places tell of: Dilapidated or crude buildings as well as wastelands were now added (2003/04). In the films too, which he produced parallel to the photos, Boberg played with the associations, expectations and emotions triggered by ever so small changes.
Seiten is the title of a series of pictures, each consisting of several parts, in development since 2004. In German, Seiten has several meanings; it not only denotes the pages of a book or magazine, but may also refer to the different aspects of an issue, or the different viewpoints from which one can approach a subject. The pictures completed in the series so far are called Seite I - IV. Thus unlike his earlier works, titled, for example, Garden Gate (2001) or Parking Lot (1998), Oliver Boberg has now chosen titles which do not describe the subject of the pictures, but their form of representation. Against a white background, each Seite consists of one large and one or two smaller pictures, which one intuitively assumes to be commentaries on or further views of the main picture-a set-up familiar from narrative contexts like comic books or photo albums. On a closer look, however, questions arise concerning the relationship between the pictures. Do they really refer to one place or one story? Searching for a coherent message it becomes apparent that the individual images are not connected at all, in fact, they do not share a single element. Nevertheless, there are structural similarities in the models photographed for Seiten. The main picture of Seite I shows a light path in the foreground turning right-hand into a wood of thin, leafless trees and bushes. Right of this, there are two smaller pictures on top of one another: The upper one depicts a path along a high grey wall, broken by small steps, the lower one a sandy recreational field surrounded by railings, with an exit again leading into some kind of brushwood. The road into depths and towards something impenetrable is therefore common to all three pictures, although the three paths are obviously not the same. In the following three Seiten, too, the eye meets with high walls, the surfaces of which turn into the main subject of the pictures-the structures of their paneling, the weathering of the concrete, the mounting of ventilation flaps, the transitions between the different parts of a building.
In Seiten II - IV, the painterly qualities become more pronounced. Boberg, here and in the context of his other new works, has especially concerned himself with structures and with the effects of an increasingly free and informal style of painting. The search for a red thread among the various motifs repeatedly leads to irritations and ruptures; more and more the eye becomes absorbed by structures and details. There is a certain enlightening impetus behind Seiten, in terms of the realization of little details that in their entirety highlight the ugliness, lack of care, and helplessness pervading contemporary urban architecture and design. As an artistic composition, however, Boberg's Seiten are charged with a characteristic, abysmal tension between the abstraction of functional construction and the utter concreteness of its details.
translated by Simone Schede
Born 1965 in Herten, Germany
Lives and works in Fürth, Germany
(S) Solo Exhibitions
Spectacular City, Netherlands Architecture Institute, Rottedam
Perfect Places, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco (S)
Duolun Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai (S)
Koldo Mixtelena Kulturunea, San Sebastian (S)
Acting Out: Inveted Melodrama in Contemporary Photography, Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, New York
A la recherche du paysage perdu, Casino Luxembourg
RE:Modern, Kunsthaus Wien
Alegoria Barroca na Arte Contemporanea, Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro; Museu de Arte Sacra, Salvador/Bahia
Multiple Räume (2/3), Kunsthalle Baden-Baden
Blank - Urbane Zwischenräume, Kunstverein Graz (Medienturm), Graz
Press Release as pdf-File 142 KB
Art Cologne, Köln, 1. - 5. Nov. 06
L. A. Gallery will present works of Julian Faulhaber within the framework of the Art Cologne's New Talents support program ("Förderkoje" section)
Arco, Madrid, 15. - 19. Feb.07
Oliver Boberg / Naoya Hatakeyama / Taiji Matsue: Spectacular City, Netherlands Architecture Institute, Rotterdam, 23. Sept. 06 - 7. Jan.07; NRW Forum DÃ¼sseldorf, 26. Jan. - 6. Mai 07
Oliver Boberg: Out of the Camera. Analoge Fotografie im digitalen Zeitalter, Bielefelder Kunstverein, 27. Okt. - 22. Dez. 06
Naoya Hatakeyama: Berlin-Tokyo/Tokyo-Berlin, Nationalgalerie Berlin, 8. Juni - 3. Okt. 06
Tunnel Vision, FotoMuseum Antwerpen, 29. Sept. 2006 bis 7. Jan. 2007
Tracey Moffatt: Das achte Feld. Geschlechter, Leben und Begehren in der Kunst seit 1960, Museum Ludwig KÃ¶ln, 19. Aug. - 12. Nov. 2006
Susa Templin: Susa Templin. Berlin Barock, Berlinische Galerie, 20. Okt.06 - 21. Feb. 07