Friday, March 9, 2012

Bizarre realism

“Real Landscapes” is a series of photographs by German artist Thomas Wrede. You see gorgeous landscapes: beaches, mountains, sand dunes, iced lakes, under tranquil light or in dramatic sunset. Suddenly there is some sort of human intervention: a house, utility poles, or even a football pitch. They look a bit out of place in the middle of the vast nature. It makes you wonder if they are actually real. This sense of “eerily pleasant uncertainty” turns a seemingly specific location into a “non-place.”
Beach Hotel, 2008
Fjord, 2010
Ice Hole, 2010
Drive-In Theatre, 2009
Dari King Drive-In, 2007
Football Pitch, 2008
Settlement, 2005
Real Landscape

The questioning of reality and perception is Thomas Wrede’s main field of interest. “I see the world as a kind of assembly kit, a grand stage, as image and simulacrum.” His photographs were shot no more than half a meter above the ground, using miniature models in actual places, and playing with scale and perspectives. What appears as an endless ocean could actually be just a puddle. His bizarre realism makes false presences very convincing. The ambiguous and absurd-surreal quality of these images challenges our perception of nature and its relationship to man.

Contrary to Wrede’s subtle ambiguity, Spanish photographer Victor Enrich’s City Portraits are full-on bizarre. Enrich manipulated his own architectural photography to create impossible and fantastical structures. Buildings were rotated, bent, unzipped, or with some parts extruded. After a career in the field of architectural visualization for over 10 years, Enrich is fully equipped with CG pictorial techniques that make the strange “incepted” scenarios visually believable.

Manuela is getting late, Munich, 2012
12 Ugly Ducks, Munich, 2012
Shalom 2, Tel Aviv, 2009
Tango 4
Looping, Riga, 2007
Medusa, Tel Aviv, 2011
Tongues, Tel Aviv, 2010
Deportation, Tel Aviv, 2011

Looks like Inception? We also have Star Wars, perhaps even with a touch of David Lynch. French photographer Cédric Delsaux created hyper-realistic images using Star Wars characters and spaceships in his “Dark Lens” series. From Paris to Dubai, you see Darth Vader, C-3PO and R2-D2 hanging in stark urban settings, AT-AT walkers moving in the fog, or the Millennium Falcon docked on a construction site. With digital collage enhancements, Delsaux has turned George Lucas and Ralph McQuarrie’s fantasy into almost “feel-nomal” moments in our physical reality.
Darth Vader
The Emperor
C-3PO and the White Visa
The Round of Battle Droids
The Buick
AT-AT in the Fog
The Millennium

Today, we have powerful image creation technology thanks to the innovations in computer graphic softwares. The bizarre realism in photographic art subverts the credibility of photography as a documentation or reproduction of reality. What is real and what is not? “See it and believe it” probably won’t work any more. Or maybe reality is just a collection of constructed illusions after all.

Related: Unreal Reality


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