Thomas Kellner – Tango Metropolis
March 1–22, 2020
Kunstverein Nuembrecht e.V., Nuembrecht, Germany
Haus der Kunst
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“[…] the underlying ideas of Kellner's photography we have to deconstruct the rules of linear perspective, …“ Michalowska, M., Kontakt Kellner, Thomas, 2014, Seltmann+Söhne, Berlin/Siegen, page 48
Artist Thomas Kellner presents his series “Tango Metropolis” at the Siegerlandmuseum in the upper castle from March 1–22 2020.
“Tango Metropolis“ shows Kellner‘s characteristic photographic works as contact sheets with architectural motifs from all over the world, like the Tokyo Tower, the Golden Gate Bridge and also the Brandenburg Gate.
When having a closer look on his works, the viewer realizes that the pictures are contiguous and taken purposely in order to put them together in a certain way. It becomes clear that a sophisticated system is behind it. Black horizontal strips with codes and consecutive numbers as well as thinner, vertical seemingly continuous divisions clearly show that we are dealing with film material and contact sheets. The number of single-shot exposures of one work can be up to 1296.
This artistic method, which Kellner invented and turned into his trademark, is called the “visual analytical synthesis“. From a philosophical point of view, it is the sequel or the visual interpretation of Kant’s method: Through the cognitive process (deduction) the artist (the thinking subject) analyzes and reconstructs single elements into a new structure, the synthesis – the absolute and complete knowledge. In the case of “Tango Metropolis” it is the knowledge about global architecture and the understanding of its physics, roots and cultural signs. One can tell from his works that he analyzed the motive in advance, made up his own picture of it in his mind and knows when he has to turn the camera in which direction to visualize the dancing architectural building. He sees, he plans and composes. The creative process includes construction but the result resembles deconstruction. The photo magazine “Photo Italia” even wrote, there would be no doubt that Thomas Kellner should be a criminal for the UNESCO.
However, his works also provide a vision and perception aid since the single pictures are cuttings, parts of a total and basically imitate the process of seeing. Bit by bit, one segment after the other is perceived, viewed and combined into one big picture. Thus his pictures do not decompose architecture but rather reproduce the look and therefore question our perception of architecture. Construction and deconstruction, composition and fragmentation often lie close together in his works.
The main topic in Kellner’s photographic work is the historical and contemporary world build by humans which reflects in real as well as associative history, time, spirituality, culture, power, mind and pride. Even though these sightseeing places and tourist attractions have been photographed countless times, probably no one ever caught these motifs like he did – in a truly unique way.
German artist Thomas Kellner is known for his photographs of seemingly dancing architectural exteriors and interiors of tourist attractions from all over the world. Even though his photographs show popular motives that have been mass-produced, his work is unique due to his new artistic method called “visual analytical synthesis”. By doing so he does not take one shot but several thoughtfully planned ones in order to create a picture out of a contact sheet. His work is often referred to Cubism considering that his creative process includes a construction but the results resemble a deconstruction. Thomas Kellner’s works imitate the wandering look of the eye, showing us segments of the total which come together as one image. Therefore his photographs do not deconstruct architecture but reconstruct our view on it. At the same time his work also reflects the flood of pictures we live in nowadays.
Like Prof. Dr. Frank Günter Zehnder said on the opening ceremony for „Farbwelt 135-36 Kunstpreis des Kreises Düren 2009“: „A training field and adventure course for seeing and perceiving, for remembering and combining is now opened with this exhibition.“
The exhibition Thomas Kellner Tango Metropolis is accompanied by a catalogue (brochure, 24 pages and 9 illustrations) with an essay by Prof. Dr. Irina Chmyreva about “visual analytical synthesis”.
Thank you to Birgit Ludwig-Weber and the whole team at Kunstverein Nuembrecht for this wonderful possibilityy to show my work.