Schneider Gallery, Chicago, 2006

Thomas Kellner

Thomas Kellner
April 7 - May 19, 2006



Visions of the future in gallery's farewell show

By Alan G. Artner
Tribune art critic
Published April 21, 2006

German photographer Thomas Kellner made his American debut just three years ago with complex color images that radically reconstructed architecture. His new pictures at the Schneider Gallery continue his process of tilting the camera this way and that, then printing every consecutive image to recast the built landscape. But they also show some advances that perhaps will open the way for the future.

Kellner's view of the Roman Forum, for example, is a panorama shot from above, with all the ancient structures in the long horizontal being equally topsy-turvy. Crowds of people are visible moving through the ruins, yet the modern world has been kept out, or at least disguised by Kellner's carefully planned fractures.

Other pictures, from Genoa, are the first interiors subjected to Kellner's twists and turns. They of course present a palette entirely different from that of his exteriors, and the forms perhaps also give a greater sense of familiarity within strangeness.

Some of the best images continue to be the ones taken at night, such as the one of the already eccentric Lloyds of London building. But the large panorama of the Golden Gate Bridge in daylight is incomparable, justifying the monumental size as almost none of his better-known compatriots have been able to do. Here it is essential to the subject, not just a decision made to compete with painting or a strategy of the marketplace.


CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, April 21, 2006

Kellner photos make contact with familiar sites

Contact sheets, usually, are to the photographer what a sketchbook is to a painter, notes from a work in progress. Not so in the case of Thomas Kellner, whose contact sheets are the finished work.

Kellner shoots monuments and tourist sites, buildings and views so familiar to us we need only a glance at a corner of the image to know it. The U.S. Capitol Building in Washington D.C., Big Ben, the Roman Coliseum, the Lincoln Memorial, the Golden Gate Bridge: These are typical subjects for Kellner. He photographs them in pieces so that each shot, each 2-inch square of his contact sheet, is a little piece of the whole mosaic view, with the camera leaned this way and that to give a puzzle-like effect to the recognizable site so that all together they make up a jiggled image of that famous postcard- worthy scene.

Each monument is seen as if viewed through a kaleidoscope, shaken yet still highly recognizable.

by Margaret Hawkins