Photography’s perceived contingency upon reality makes it ripe for exploiting our expectations and playing with our perceptions. Frank van der Salm’s photographs currently exhibited at Galerie Akinci do just this. Indeed, it is in their tenuous relationships to reality that the diverse group of images is united.
There is an evening cityscape, the empty interior of an arcade, a mountainous landscape filtered through window blinds, a white image from which faint building outlines emerge, a vibrant indoor display of flowers, and an abstracted composition of multicolored vertical stripes. While no one photograph seems entirely implausible, each raises subtle questions about its veracity.
The images are, in fact, “authentic” to the extent that van der Salm does not manipulate his subjects. He is a highly selective image-maker who travels the world to find his many subjects. Some photographs’ perceived artificiality stems from in-camera manipulations controlling focus, exposure length, and the tilt and shift of the lens and film planes. Others images reveal the artificial and the hyper-real in our everyday lives.
(Images: Frank van der Salm, Matrix, 2008, 225 x 180 cm; Frank van der Salm, Bouquet 2008; Frank van der Salm, Spectrum, 2008, 150 x 187 cm. Images courtesy of the artist and Galerie Akinci, NL)
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