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On the art of Wieland Krause

In legal usage and in speech act theory, statements serve as a means to emphasise a particular circumstance, which is accepted in this form by the parties concerned in the process. Taken literally: the photographer records a visually perceptible state with the aid of a technical device. This specific characteristic of photography is deployed to different ends, as with example in the documentation of crime scenes, in the veduta, or in product-related photography. At the same time, the photograph records a particular point in time: crime scenes are investigated further (and as such, transformed); products (particularly fresh goods) are subject to change, as are landscapes.*1
In creative processes, such a fundamental acceptance of facts is often secondary. In the quest for acquired meanings, for that special emotional moment, or for pure fiction, the creation and perception of art tends to pursue the dynamic, rather than the subject matter. Nevertheless, the concept of the “statement” is in many respects pertinent to the work of Wieland Krause.
With the photograph, Krause not only records facts for his own ends, but also brings these recorded images together in the exhibition in a form, which materialises for the observer as a recognisable statement. Despite the increasingly simple means with which photographs may be manipulated nowadays, Krause’s photographs profess a non-manipulated authenticity with respect to the object. As a result, they challenge the public to acknowledge the veracity of the statement: Yes, this is a fragment of perceived and recorded reality.

Hypothetical landscapes
Much of what Wieland Krause records may be construed as landscape, whether an mage shows a seemingly intact natural space, as in Dürer’s Tall Grass, whether one seeks a balance between socialised nature and open space untouched by civilisation, or whether the view of a city such as Tokyo from above registers a lack of vegetation. For the photographer, each of these possible vistas harbours the potential of landscape. In this sense, landscape is understood in broad and inclusive terms, as a hypothesis in-formed by knowledge of the aesthetics of landscape. At the same time, these photo-graphs are a world away from the self-delusions of ecologists professing civilisation’s return to nature, and for whom the concept of the hypothetical landscape is likewise invoked.

Although initially unaware, the observer thereby simultaneously tunes in – in all proba-bility, unaware of this at first – to a wide range of factors of a creative or artistic nature:
detail and format, sharpness of focus, the choice of film material and, by implication, co-lour, the shape of the print and its presentation. These aspects, which galvanise the artwork, embrace umpteen options, which the photographer is familiar with and selects according to his professional experience. The artist uses these as tools in support of the “moment”. Tools which are both direct and coherent and take the work beyond the brief first impression. The composition of his detailed medium format pictures and pano-ramasis as certain as it is considered. Frequently, there are visual elements, which only
become apparent at second glance: a motif, a colour contrast, an initially unprepossess-
ing compositional line, a harmonious bridging of layers of visual depth through image definition, a visual irritant to ingrained patterns of perception.

Points of view
Each of us has an established notion of a metropolis such as Tokyo. Without having been there, its name conjures up a sense of how its urban life and ambience might feel. Tokyo in particular however, is a multi -faceted city. Other cities have more dominant viewpoints or landmarks which define their urban image (and associated expectati ons) at a distance. Yet in contrast to these fixed images, developments on the ground are often characterised by frenetic dynamism. With the exception of a few sacrosanct buildings and traditions, everything is subject to negotiation: not only the urban image, but also the everyday lifestyle habits, which transcend what a guidebook describes as typical. Wieland Krause’s project Transit_Tokyo is the most ambitious product of his work in megacities to date. In a departure from the standard tourism-orientated formats, his attention focuses on the revealing details of daily life, on the remnants of nature, which the city still yields, incorporating the city’s idiosyncratic life-flow. Tokyo unites this intensity with an equally prolific process of transformation. Wieland Krause is pre-destined to explore these issues in his own inimitable style.

Project and archive
The artist lives in Halle and works on long-term projects. These include travel-related
projects – such as the stay in Istanbul, which preceded Tokyo Transfer – and work on specific objects, such as a former greenhouse in Dessau-Vockerode or the windbreak plantations of the landscape architect Georg Pniower. How Krause’s work takes shape depends largely on his modus operandi. Beginning with a phase of quiet contemplation, Krause first ascertains only what he perceives. For the time being, thoughts of further developments are put aside. The ensuing accumulation of material is not only both cor-nerstone and point of departure for further development, but – as an archive or a non-systemised collection – an art form in itself.
This is enhanced by the wide spectrum of creative means of expression, which Krause has at his disposal. One given situation may result in an audio project, a film, a series of photographs, a text or a sculpture. In this approach, the additi on of text to the accumu-lated material reflects on and classifies the perceived.

Media and transfer
While Wieland Krause first gained recognition with his deeply elaborate photographs, he has now transferred the knowledge gained in this medium to other art forms. His audio projects, for example, transmit authentic sounds gathered in situ yet remain fascinating and enigmatic. His video projects not only reflect a visual subject, but also his own movements. As such, Wieland Krause not only records himself as the perceiver of his situation, but also reveals this self as observer to his audience. In the media metropolis of Tokyo, a centre for the consumer electronics sector, Krause, unsurprisingly, regularly avails of his wide range of means of perception and expression. This challenge to one’s own capacity for perception, which draws on each and every sense, lends an authentic flavour to the form presented by Krause, and permits a far-reaching reflection on the cultural identity of this metropolis.

Johannes Stahl

1* The debate, which centres on the art of the moment and its exposition is a significant theme in the history of art. The British painter John Constable endeavoured to capture the fleeting weather conditions on Hampstead Heath; even Faust’s legendary pact centres on capturing the moment.