May 4 through June 29, Laurence Miller Gallery will feature a series of
12 large-scale color photographs by the German photographer Peter
Bialobrzeski from his groundbreaking series and book Heimat.
Derived from the German word for “homeland,” this body of work seems
a marked departure from the hyper-intense, hyper-electric series of
fast-growing Asian cities that preceded it, Neon
Tigers. Closer consideration, however, alludes to a certain type
of post-modern romanticism that characterizes them both.
The impetus for Bialobrzeski’s series of landscapes set in the German
countryside was an appointment to a position in
at an art college, for it meant that a minimum of eight months
would be spent in Germany. At about the same time, Peter realized that the “new” German style
in photography, characterized by the dialectic in the work of Andreas
Gursky, Thomas Ruff, Thomas Struth, did not speak to his own sense of
significance, his own aesthetic. Bialobrzeski’s pictures are in direct
contradistinction to this movement:
whereas the New German Photography was to be documentary,
objective and devoid of emotion, Bialobrzeski sought an aesthetic of
beauty that approached the sublime. His pictures owe more to the German
Romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich than to the New German
Photography of the Bechers and their students.
The landscapes that Peter Bialobrzeski photographs are ordinary –
places where people go to seek quiet or recreation or fun—to hike, or
swim, or ski. But the pictures he makes are extraordinary, and though
they are populated by many folks, the overall impression is of a grand
and harmonious landscape filled with memory and meaning. And they are beautiful---in this sense a glorious contradiction
to the cool, hip, detached aesthetic which they parallel.
Peter Bialobrzeski was born in Wolfsburg
in 1961, and has worked for several years as a freelance photographer
for various international publications. Heimat
marks his second solo exhibition at the Laurence Miller Gallery.