You Are Here
LAST DAYS OF THE EXHIBITION
"You are here" - a look at the landscape. A first landscape drawn by a camera reveals a clear and distinct horizon line extending through the field of vision and suggesting the vast and infinite view associated with Australian scenery. Another photograph shows a landscape composition translated into vertical format, the depth attributable to the atmospheric perspective. The colour shades are multifaceted and reminiscent of the flora of a faraway and exotic region. The lack of any human presence evokes the notion of a primal and authentic nature. The intensity of the images is such that they illuminate not only forms and colours, but also seem capable of conveying the flavours and scents of the organic matter depicted. The vegetation appears distinctive, it permeates the foreground, immersing the observer into a visual, almost sensual experience ...
And yet, they are but images.
As stated by René Magritte at the beginning of the last century, rendition and reality are two very different things. The discrepancy between the two worlds reveals the inherent power of any photograph to spark a dialogue based more on ideas than on real subjects. While the physical world cannot be conquered in the blink of an eye, images are ubiquitous in man's day-to-day life and easily accessible. Their language fulfils his expectations and follows his imagination. His knowledge of foreign lands precedes any empirical experience: the challenge is no longer physical and concrete, the perception is two-dimensional and retains the possibility of disregarding the true object of analysis: the landscape as it really is.
This phenomenon has consequences that are both tangible and mutually influential. Photography creates images and conceives a virtual reality. It outlines a paradigm that already exists in all its strength before taking on concrete forms. This awareness, or rather this notion, puts its stamp on any landscape transformation initiated by man. Man shapes his environment, which then becomes a "cultural landscape". And what about the authentic, so-called natural landscape - is it gradually threatening to disappear?
This "natural landscape" has been found and photographed by Sonja Braas. Some images were captured in museums and zoological surroundings. This natural landscape is not real, it is imagined, turned image so as to materialise in a pictorial style that the human consciousness associates with it. Its perception in this form seems the most natural.