‘above us only sky’……is a song-line from „imagine" by john lennon, 1971
How often do we look above, how often do we look up to perceive?
We are used to looking straight ahead, looking at shopfronts, the street. Most citizens don’t know the higher parts of the built city in which they live. Holding smartphones permanently in our hands, our gaze is directed downwards when instead we should be looking out into the world.
The change of perspective, the alternative notion is the focus of this book.
The photographs of „ABOVE“ began while visiting countless gallery-spaces in Vienna. Most art can only be seen with the help of artificial lighting. Great efforts are being put into finding the perfect “invisible” lighting.
The light is the unnoticed maker, like a sound- or light-engineer at a concert.
Each gallery space has its own personality, carefully contained so not to dominate over the art itself.The space, the floor-plan, the floor-texture, the pure white walls, and then there is the lighting. The principally unattractive fluorescent tube is set and displayed as naked as possible, sometimes even dismounted from its original structure to be even more reduced, with the attempt therein to make it more aesthetically pleasing than the awkward, clumsy industrial look given by its producer.
In an old town like Vienna, gallery spaces are often located in former workshops that can date back to the 17.th century. The light bars are placed to fit with the historic structures of the vaults and cantilevers, to avoid installing a new graphic structure which could potentially disrupt the room space. The setting of the lighting is sometimes impressing, sometimes overwhelming, sometimes poetically placed, sometimes appearing to move organically.
The object not supposed to be the artifact, in the context of art, becomes the subject of art itself, by its unpretentious minimalistic poetry, like a still of a choreography. Like a snapshot of a person unaware of being photographed, these pictures capture a short perception in the room.
All photos were taken with smartphones, without tripod, planning, additional lighting or editing. The moment of composition was the moment to fit the experience of the special situation onto the screen.
The color of the lightbulb, of the wall, the room conditions, the technical process and distortions of the smartphone gave each picture its life and character. Nothing was changed for this book’s selection.
At the inception this project was all about the sublime poetry of the unperceived. Slowly it seems to become a witness to the end of this particular period of gallery-illumination.
all photographs have been taken with smartphones (blackberry, iphone, htc) in Viennese art galleries during exhibition times.
many thanks to edel horan and nicholas hammonds
special thanks to michela ghisetti for taking me to so many art galleries.
Vienna, march 2019