Photographer Patrick Bogner capture the edge of the Arctic Circle, in the Orkneys, the Faroes, the Hebrides, in Saint-Kilda, in Iceland, in Scotland or in Norway, present the overwhelming sublime of deserted and unchained landscapes, uninhabitable, where man, fatally passing through, comes to seek a face-to-face encounter with forces that exceed him.
The sources of his inspiration are to be found in primitive romanticism, the Sturm und Drang, the avant-garde movement created by Goethe, its charismatic leader. Patrick Bogner is resolutely in line with these German, English and French writers – Goethe, Lenz, Tieck, Büchner, Blake, Chateaubriand, Hugo, Nerval… – for whom the spectacle of nature offers the answer of an interior state. He declares himself, above all, the modest heir of Caspar David Friedrich, thus placing his work under the authority of a landscape painting whose ambition is to arouse a contemplation equal to that of sacred images. And indeed, however stormy, jarring and overwhelming they may be, the photographs of Erdgeist – the “spirit of the earth” – are taken in a deafening silence that is primarily that of winter. The choice of black and white, bringing to a climax the contrast between earth and sky, rock and snow, solid and liquid, inert and moving, gives them a hieratic dignity and leads them to the border of abstraction, in this appearance of simplicity and simplicity which is, in the words of the photographer, “what requires the most effort”.
” … Here, my bet is to substitute a dreamlike space to the space of reality. I want to build my own theatrical vision of nature based on an aesthetic concept of anxiety, thrill and silence borrowed from my most precious influences.
… Faced with a nature that rumbles its indignation, I cannot forget our very contemporary concerns. The list of recriminations is long. The over-consumption of resources, the intensification of climatic extremes, ecological phenomena and catastrophes confront us with our vulnerability. Human appetites, the Man-Nature divide so damaging, have led us to the impasse where we are today.
Listening to the living source within me, rediscovering through this project an ontological link with nature, I wish to dream of a society that celebrates life through harmonious relationships with it.
Art and poetry have never broken this link.
Doesn’t poetry remain the sovereign dimension of photography?” — Patrick Bogner
Freelance photographer since 1982, Patrick Bogner lives and works in Strasbourg. His favorite themes revolve around Elsewhere, that Elsewhere which is not a distant place, but the reverse side of a place, its invisible side; an Elsewhere which, present in a place, would need photography to become incarnate. He surveys the northern lands after having spent twenty years in the remote lands of Latin America.
The photographs of the “Erdgeist” series are gathered in the eponymous book published by L’Atelier contemporain – May 2020 – 140 pages.
Patrick Bogner – Erdgeist
From October 1st to November 14th 2021
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October 01, 2021 to November 14, 2021