Reality is disarrayed in specific images and iconic landscapes. There is an idea when you hear a word like park. An image grows; perhaps it blooms green in your mind with standing trees, peaks and pillars of stone and bark. Or maybe not? Perhaps a different place, a person, a picnic, a panoramic. These details are of vernacular intrigue to the imagery of Thomas Albdorf’s General View on display currently at New York’s Deli Gallery. Here in General View Albdorf has concocted a curious body of work. Arrangements of uncertain depths, a play on reality, the agrarian systems of the world inside these photographs are rogue. The alchemy of their mystery beguiles thoughts up a trail through mountaintops and fields of fleshy blurs and wonders profound in bogus validities.
Albdorf is sourcing deconstructed expectations and places he’s never visited. The basic materiality of photography is full of an associative potential. Unknown lands and images of new destinations have a power of fully realized familiarity. Haven’t I been here before? Details confuse the senses of the recognized. The photos of General View are the criminals of relationships to places that are not actually discrete. However the tenderness of their meticulous formation mediates the landscapes rich credibility. Is nature trustworthy? There are no actors or relatable objects in the imagery; they are algorithmic in their intervened sculptural accuracy.
“Reality is tricky, but something is not necessarily a thing.” Nearly within grasp, riddled and resonant; crowded in itself a thing has a quality of its own. Albdorf’s photographs are testing. The prints have different qualities; papers and folds, variants and subtle changes in compositions seem like mimicry but are more nearly a sort of déjà vu. General View is a forest of its own—leave breadcrumbs. You may need them. There is a resounding cry in the images that harks a defiant wonder, haven’t I seen you before, weren’t you just over there? Don’t get lost. Survival is reliant on adaptations, correlations, memories, and acceptance. Unknown excites fears that give free form to new sorts of flight. The photographs have that power.
Expectations and preconceptions have a monumentality that, in Albdorf’s work, is thrown to the wind. We need that air. Lofty and lotus that space gives its viewership manna. In light of permutations an estranged narrative beckons individuality. I don’t believe for a moment that these photos mean the same thing to anyone. They are freed of specificity but fascinate possibilities and new understandings. The supernatural and distinctive identities of General View are new in authenticity. Lines are walked between forcing something not necessarily better but different. Origins of photography intersect with possibilities. Some are primary—others contain probability. The reenactment of Albdorf’s concentration is full of new quantities and qualities. He is a free agent, independent and tempestuous. The works he makes excite because they are genuine, unconditional, uncontrollable, and totally contemporary.
Efrem Zelony-Mindell is a poet, photographer and independent curator based in New York, USA.
Thomas Albdorf, General View
February 10 – March 5, 2017
10-16 46th Avenue
Queens, NY, 11101