Contemporary Topography in art, a modern topography of me

Something in the earth here. A Map of Contemporary Topography in art, a modern topography of memory

Something in the earth here. Contemporary Topography in Photographs by Thomas Kellner & Guillermo Srodek-Hart

San Diego. Since June, jdc Fine Art has been showing the exhibition Something in the earth here with contemporary topography by the two fine art photographers Guillermo Srodek-Hart from Argentina and Thomas Kellner from Germany. 

Kellner and Srodek-Hart, through their work, retain the long-standing form known as the typological tradition in their photography. This tradition of form in contemporary art and photography, initiated by Hilla and Bernd Becher, was carried on by other artists they influenced, such as Andreas Gursky, Candida Höfer, Thomas Ruff, and Thomas Struth, and was further discussed in a 2016 published article. When we look at Kellner and Srodek-Hart's work together, we start thinking about how people's hopes and dreams are shown through buildings in today's world. Staying true to the form of the tradition that guided them, Kellner and Srodek-Hart use black and white print in their photographs with reduced contrast. At a first glance, their print images may appear ordinary, cold, and devoid of life, mirroring tones of gray in everyday life. However, their works, printed on paper with astonishing detailing, manage to evoke awe, saving them from being reduced to generic everyday formula. Both photographers rely on technology to evoke this emotional response in a contemporary topography.

Art of the Half-timbered Houses of the Siegen Industrial Area Today. A Modern Topography Exhibition

In the series called "Half-timbered Houses of the Siegen Industrial Area Today | 2021," Kellner worked on images that he had previously created for the tourism office in his hometown. These print images capture the remnants of half-timbered houses, an integral part of the everyday life in the Siegen Industrial Area. Unfortunately, this article notes, most of these distinctive wooden edifices, a key part of the form of the city, have been ravaged either by war or in the name of 'progress and development.' The print copies associated with the legacy of Becher are rarer, as mentioned in the published paper. The surviving, half-timbered houses, printed on paper, show evidence of wear and tear over the years and reveal the modernization efforts of the subsequent working-class generations. Printed in a 2016 article, these houses were originally constructed by immigrants who migrated to Siegen for work in the mines or furnace plants, marking it as the most ancient iron-producing region in Europe. Kellner revisited his earlier photographs of the Becher homes and made alterations to them. He softened the spaces and removed most of the color, leaving only subtle hints of it. This transformation gives Kellner's work a magical and dreamlike quality, creating a sense of wonder and fantasy.

Rural Installations become a topographic map

In his project titled "Rural Installations," Guillermo Srodek-Hart employs a combination of traditional and contemporary approaches to investigate spaces in the countryside of Argentina including topographic data. He utilized a 4x5 camera to capture easily accessible areas, while a drone camera allowed him to explore spaces that would otherwise be inaccessible. Srodek-Hart's ethereal 4x5 images and hidden panoramic views primarily focus on three interconnected subjects: grain elevators, estates, and gas stations. These works possess a fantastic aesthetic characterized by soft edges and unconventional positioning, which adds a sense of dynamism and unease to the compositions. Srodek-Hart's frames simultaneously ground us in reality while also allowing us to float in a dreamlike state. These rural locations symbolize the promise of new horizons and a manifest destiny. Similar to the half-timbered houses, these structures were also constructed by immigrants and communicate meaning through their design. The estates overtly express individuality in intriguing ways, while the grain elevators, paradoxically designed to be "identical" for economic purposes, reveal their uniqueness through visible signs of usage.

See also the Promise of socio-economic prosperity in topographical artworks

What these artists' works reveal is a sense of ambition. The photographs capture signs of hope and success. People not only focus on making buildings functional, but they also infuse their architecture with dreams and aspirations. These emotions are noticeable regardless of how much time has passed since the buildings were constructed, especially when they fall into disrepair and abandonment. Kellner and Srodek-Hart's subjects represent the promise of socio-economic prosperity based on industrialization. These places were intended for workers and symbolized progress, offering the potential for upward mobility through labor and expressing individuality through design. Across different continents, these were the initial homes for the generation that built and lived in them. When viewed together, they serve as reminders of a struggle between independence and mass influence. These structures serve as containers for the fruits of production, and photographs of them embody the hope for industrial growth driven by workers, which has now been replaced by machines.

Abstract about the modern Artists on urban landscapes:

Thomas Kellner (b. 1966 -     , Bonn, DE): Thomas Kellner studied art, sociology, politics and economics at the University of Siegen. After receiving the Kodak Young Talent Award, Kellner determined to peruse life as an artist. He has since exhibited internationally in numerous solo and group exhibitions.  Kellner’s works are in such prominent public collections as Fox Talbot Museum, George Eastman House, Library of Congress, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, The Art Institute of Chicago, among others.  He has served on the German Society for Photography (DGPh) since 2003.

Guillermo Srodek – Hart: (b. 1977-      , Buenos Aires, Argentina): Guillermo Srodek-Hart earned his BFA from Tufts University and MFA from Mass College of Art.  His work has exhibited internationally, most notably in the 55th Venice Biennale.  Samples of Srodek-Hart’s work may be found in the permanent collections of the Attleboro Museum of Art, Bruce Berman Collection, Danforth Museum of Art, Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts, Fundación Klemm, Fundación Petrobrás, Larriviére Collection, North Dakota Museum of Art, and Santa Barbara Museum of Art, among others.

Contemporary Topography in San Diego

Something in the Earth here. Photographs by Guillermo Srodek-Hart and Thomas Kellner

jdc Fine Art
Gallery Cell: +1 619 9852322

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