Friday, October 7, 2011

Roland Fischer, New Work @Von Lintel

JTF (just the facts): A total of 6 large scale works, unframed and unmatted, and hung in the single room gallery. Five of the works are single image c-prints face-mounted to plexiglas, sized 71x49, in editions of 5+1AP, taken between 2002 and 2011. The sixth work is a group of 5 smaller c-prints face mounted to plexiglas, each 20x14, the suite in editions of 10+2AP, from 2005. (Installation shots at right.) 

Comments/Context: German photographer Roland Fischer takes the idea of abstraction based on architectural forms to its logical end point extreme. Fragments of modern buildings are flattened, tightly cropped, and rendered scale-less (is this an entire facade or a tiny detail?), becoming exercises in colorful geometric patterning. Printed large and given a now familiar glossy object quality, they seem to drift away from the conventional photographic discourse, echoing Mondrian and Richter in their crisp, formal stripes and grids.

This method of abstraction is not, of course, new; we can go back to Barbara Crane and Harry Callahan or look to more contemporary work by Ola Kolehmainen to see this line of thinking being explored or to see echoes of similar pictures. Where I think Fischer has gone further is that in many cases, he has even removed surface depth and texture from the equation, truly paring the forms down to elemental two dimensional shapes; it is often difficult to ground these images in the context of "buildings" or to place them in some kind of recognizable physical reality. The scale of the works confuses this further, as "big" and "small" lose their relational meaning.

The more Fischer pushes away from typical photographic norms, the more these works drift toward a concrete connection to Hard Edge, Color Field, and Geometric painting and even Op Art; their original underlying photographic truth becomes insignificant, and we are forced to focus on the purity of the forms, regardless of their origin. Yes, these are architectural facades, but in each case, Fischer has sliced off a thin top layer and transformed it into a strict study in color and pattern.

Collector's POV: The large 71x49 prints in this show are priced at $20000 each. The suite of 5 smaller 20x14 prints is $11000. Fischer's work has very little secondary market history, so gallery retail remains the best option for collectors interested in following up.
Rating: * (one star) GOOD (rating system described here)

Transit Hub:

Exhibition: Museo DA2, Salamanca, 2011 (here)
520 West 23rd Street
New York, NY 10011

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