The art of painting has learned to break free from the constraints of mimesis (1) to assert its creative power and artistic status and to emphatically legitimise its existence in face of the increasing importance of photography. In its early stages, photography laid claim to capturing the world better than any other media. And yet photography too - being more image than technical process - finds itself facing the same ontological issues as its parent discipline.
The challenge of wanting to portray the real world alternates with the desire to explore the inherent potential of the medium. This perspective of introspection sets a new course for photography, thus defined as a powerful language, capable of narrating the world rather than reproducing a copy of it.
Andrea Grützner's geometrical compositions reveal graphic structures featuring clear and distinct lines. Colours interact harmoniously, as do contrasts. The photographs depict coloured and textured fields and plains, hinting at certain figurative motifs yet adhering to an abstract language. The shadows endeavour to disengage from the objects casting them. They turn into coloured marks and it is only their degree of brightness that sets them apart from the illuminated forms. This play of free shadows undermines the sculptural effect of the objects in favour of the graphic style of the series. The spatial depth is visually reduced.
Despite this, the images exude a sense of depth: the concrete subject matter of this work is a structure by the name of "Erbgericht (2)", a guest house established more than a century ago and located in rural Saxony, Germany. The building boasts a rich history and played an important social role over generations. Time and events have become intertwined with its infrastructure. Visual traces of the past are ubiquitous, the building a confluence of styles and fabrics that have evolved over time and evoke the life that once dwelled within its walls.
Much like memory reconstitutes images in fragments, photographs are made up of details. When arranged in a series, the image details assume a coherent and narrative character. Together they paint an overall picture of the place, through the symbolic translation of the stratified and condensed nature of the building. The photographs trace the essential layers of the house. By choosing a graphic style over a faithful illustration, the images succeed in keeping their autonomy instead of literally merging with the subject.
(1) Reconstruction through imitation of reality, of the real world
(2) Formerly in rural areas, the seat of a judge holding a brewery and tavern licence, whose office was passed down by succession