photographs from the artist in residence program 2012
montée de l'église
The word "zone" has a very broad meaning and is shaped by an additional distinction.
The zones of Bärbel Praun depict landscapes, not just in a geographical sense but also from a sociological angle. The photographer focuses her interest on the contradictions that exist between the cultural landscape and the natural landscape. Where the former centres on functional areas, remaining subordinate to the desires, imaginings and needs of humans, the latter - if it still exists - is controlled only by the laws of nature.
The "landscape" assumes its entire sense when it is preceded by "contemplation". The cultural landscape can be very clearly defined through its contrast to the wild, primitive and authentic natural landscape, the mere idea of which on the one hand triggers a sublime feeling among us and, on the other hand, appears alien and threatening to us because of its size and scale.
Back to the very distinct zones of Bärbel Praun, photographs that are after all very "ordered" (as the author herself likes to describe her images). They reveal individual and clear surfaces of a landscape impregnated by culture: controllable and dominated by the spectator. Nevertheless, in addition to a sense of order and structure, the title of the series evokes the very opposite of this feeling. As a perceptible part of a whole, the controllable zone triggers a premonition: the start of a new zone at the boundaries of the visible space...
English translation by Claire Weyland