Harald F. Müller

Galerie Schneider

Light and a substance that reflects light are required to make a photograph. In the simplest case, the photographer arranges things into narratives, playing with quotations and references to things outside the picture: in the most interesting case, things are nonobjective, and they act as reflections of light and color.

Harald F. Müller’s photographic objects tell no tales, convey neither messages nor information. Scanning countless commercial and advertising brochures, Müller selects a number of tiny photographs, which he then photographs in a lavish process of reproduction. Finally, after blowing them up, he presents them as Cibachrome objects, displayed some four inches away from the wall. His subjects include a woman in sunglasses, four heads, a red industrial building, elephants, etc. Müller makes nine prints from each of 12 negatives, distinguishing the prints by light and color accents. Each “copy” influences the next picture; each is an original. These reproductions are shown with Freistehendes Werk (Freestanding work, 1989), which consists of two big, dark blue boxes grouped close together.

Neither the reproductions nor the freestanding pieces solve the problems of form and content. These are absolute yet quiet works that insist on a spatial presence. Any change in the viewer’s position triggers a change in the work: from a distance the reproductions are pictures, but from a close perspective, they lose all pictorial quality. Müller’s works are based on observation––the observation of his process of selection and creation, as well as the observation of the demand he makes on the observers. His photographs are general rather than specific. The significance of interstices, light, interaction of volumes, spatial mass, and color is not interrupted by intrusive motifs or spectacular objects. These works expect neither contemplative attention nor intellectual empathy: their demand is presence and precise observation.

Sabine B. Vogel

Translated from the German by Joachim Neugroschel.