Critics’ Picks

View of “Gerald Domenig,” 2016

Vienna

Gerald Domenig

Secession
Friedrichstraße 12
April 22 - June 19

What is lost and what gained in transferring the three-dimensional world onto the flat surface of a photographic print is the chief concern of Gerald Domenig. The four decades of his practice have been a ceaseless and playful inquiry into this question. This exhibition serves as a useful introduction to his rich oeuvre.

The most striking group of works is the photographs of architecture. These untitled gelatin silver prints show inconspicuous details of buildings. Due to their deft compositions—for instance, a clever use of corners that makes the skyline of a city seen through windows appear like framed photographs hanging on the wall, or high contrast rendering snow in the image completely white—these pictures look extremely flat. As they deprive buildings of a sense of space and instead emphasize their pictorial character, these pieces confront and negate the conventions and requirements of architectural photography. Though they are from different periods, they reveal the remarkable consistency of Domenig’s interest in photography’s ability to turn architecture into image.

The last room presents his process and methodology, and includes a selection of drawings. One wall is occupied by a large collage consisting of fragments of many series that he has been exploring throughout his career, as well as a few objects and newspaper clippings. They cover every type of photographic genre, from portraiture to conceptualist interplay between photography and language, testifying to the astonishing breadth of his output.