Amy Friend (CA) / Martin Bogren (SE) / Thirza Schaap (NL) / Albarran Cabrera (ESP) / Sandro Diener (CH) / Jeffrey Conley (US) / Thomas Hoepker (DE) / Paul Cupido (NL)
The Bildhalle is proud to present eight artists who explore the motif of the ocean, each with a different aesthetic approach.
For thousands of years, people of all civilizations have been intrigued by the ocean and have pictured it in a diversity of artistic forms. The ocean is the source of life on earth and symbolic of the unbounded spectrum of animate being. The infinite movement of these masses of water also symbolizes stability. Conversely, the oceans may also stand for formlessness and chaos and, in the interpretation of dreams, for the collective and personal unconscious.
The works of Amy Friend (CA), Martin Bogren (SE) and Thirza Schaap (NL) are showcased in Switzerland for the first time while the artist duo Albarrán Cabrera (ES) enchant us with a new printing technique of their own invention, Jeffrey Conley (US) with his large-format pigment prints on Kozo paper and Paul Cupido (NL) with his iconic Diptych "Island in the Moon". With Sandro Diener (CH) the Bildhalle shows the artist with whom the gallery opened for the first time 8 years ago. The eight artists all take the perspective that we have as human beings and viewers standing on the shore.
Amy Friend‘s (*1974, CA) pictures, the ocean is transformed into a memory of times past, brought to life by the artist as delicately scattered, dancing points of light, radiant and motionless at once. To this end, she gives her prints a surprising and particularly weighty materiality: after immersing the prints in seawater, she lays them out to dry for several weeks until the water has completely evaporated, leaving behind a surface covered with crystalline traces of salt.
Thirza Schaap (*1971, NL) reveals the formative power of the ocean. She collects plastic debris that has been shaped and polished by the water and finally washed ashore on the beaches of South Africa. Out of these she makes subtle sculptures, wresting beauty from ugliness in remarkably modern and colourful works. The series of pictures, which she calls Plastic Ocean, is as aesthetic as it is disquieting.
Martin Bogren (1967, SE) draws viewers’ attention to the shoreline life of oceans. His black-and-white photographs show the ocean as a source of energy and life, in documenting the unbridled joy and extreme bodily experience of plunging into the sea. The water is almost physically palpable. For Bogren, called “a master of the everyday sublime” by Sean O’Hagan, photography is a way to understand one’s place in the world. The camera could be key or shield, depending on the mood of the artist. Bogren’s photographs may be described as poetic, cinematic, evocative, romantic or mysterious, yet they also elude any such qualification.
Albarrán Cabrera’s (*1969, ES) virtuoso printing techniques – cyanotypes on aluminium plates and pigments on Japan paper over gold leaf – transport us to places of memory and imagination. Their ocean images feature a compelling combination of sensitivity to their craft and nostalgic aesthetics, contributing substantially to the artist duo’s success as contemporary photographers. The sensuous and poetic presence of their ocean images is indebted to the masterful application of relief, colouring and texture in the printing process.