Galerie Guido W. Baudach is pleased to present very its sixth solo exhibition by Erwin Kneihsl.
Kneihsl practices photography in spirit of alchemy.His focus of attention is not directed towards materials and their external forms, but the ‘transmutation’ of the subject of the photograph into an image in the mind’s eye. This corresponds to both the motifs and the methods of Kneihsl’s photography: the decision to exclusively use mechanical cameras, the classical black and white film, and the insistence on personally producing his gelatine silver prints from the negative material. And while the motifs are usually presented in series, it is always his own perceptions that lead him to the particular images. To a certain extent Kneihsl’s photographs are reflections of personal thoughts andemotions, these bound up with an interest in the historical, biographical, and psychological connotations of the motifs represented. The ‘alchemical’ transformation of the subject from one state to another is of essential significance for him. It is the hidden elements that are foregrounded, not the externals.
The exhibition very is an ‘alchemical’ treatment of the four elemental substances of the world as anchored in collective memory since antiquity: earth, air, fire and water as symbols of inner forces and powers. Integrated in a special installative setting mountains, rockets, suns and the sea are presented not as photographic illustrations, but as projections whose actual origins are to be found in Kneihsl’s inner world of perception. With his specific technique of intentionally deploying non-focus and turning two-tone effects into sfumato – and in spite of the reduction and concentration that goes along with it – Kneihsl consciously distances himself from purely formalistic approaches to create works of imaginative power and rare psychological penetration.
Erwin Kneihsl has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions at home and abroad (selection): Two, SVIT, Prag (2010) / DieAndere Seite, Kai 10, Dusseldorf (2009) / Restlicht – Diktatur der Schönheit, Galerie Andreas Höhne, Munich (2009) / BERLIN2000, PaceWildenstein, New York (2009) / Mare Humorum 1, Hiromi Yoshii Gallery, Tokio (2008) / La Petite Histoire, Kunstraum Niederösterreich, Vienna (2008) / Kommando Calvin Cohn, Salon 94, New York (2007) / Constructing New Berlin, Phoenix Art Museum and Bass Museum of Art, Miami (2006) / Ketzer & Co. – Montage auf der Achse Brünn – Berlin, Haus der Kunst, Brno (2006) / Schwarz, Brot, Gold, Oldenburger Kunstverein (2005) / Licht 4 – Der Heilige Berg, allerArt, Bludenz (2004) / Sex, Essen und Gewalt 2, Dominikanerkloster, Vienna (2002) / Montana Sacra (Circles 5), ZKM, Karlsruhe (2001) / Gesinnung ´99 (with Jonathan Meese), Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin (1999).
Erwin Kneihsl is the editor of Schönheit und Vernunft – Zeitschrift für Fototheorie(Beauty and Reason – Journal of Photographic Theory), which is published by Verlag Ich & Du.