Karl Lagerfeld lagerfield self portrait fashion designer fendi chanel
Concrete Abstractly Seen
Langen Foundation
November 18, 2007 - May 04, 2008

The exhibition, KONKRET ABSTRAKT GESEHEN (Concrete Abstractly Seen), has been conceived by Karl Lagerfeld and Gerhard Steidl exclusively for the Langen Foundation and can be thought of as an installation. With this series of large-format photographs made specially for the Langen Foundation, Karl Lagerfeld reveals his interest and artistic engagement with textures, services, patterns and rhythms. The means he employs to shape the exhibition space turn out to be a response to Tadao Ando's architecture, for they combine with the cool austerity to form a dynamic ensemble.

Karl Lagerfeld Langen Foundation Tadao Ando museum architecture modern germany cubism architect

The artistic positions of modern art — Futurism, Cubism, Constructivism — in the 1920s opened up a completely new view of the objective world. Today we are familiar with this view from Neue Sachlichkeit and Magic Realism, not to mention Dadaism and Surrealism. They all share in common the gesture of turning, from various perspectives, once again to concrete things. In parallel to this, the avant-garde discovered photography as an artistic medium and employed its means of expression — shots of details, framing and composition of the image, etc. — on the one hand, to document the newly forming post-war world, and, on the other hand, to make it comprehensible by shaping it through art.

KONKRET ABSTRAKT GESEHEN Karl Lagerfeld and Langen Foundation
Photo by Karl Lagerfeld, Screen 2004, KONKRET ABSTRAKT GESEHEN © Karl Lagerfeld and Langen Foundation 2007

In the line of this tradition, Karl Lagerfeld is a classic. He is an artist who deploys the medium of photography to guide, concentrate, intensify, in short, to concretize the gaze. With this exhibition he surprised us because he uses the 'classical gaze' and thus counterposes a play of surfaces, structures and rhythms to the strict and aloof elegance of Tadao Ando's architecture. Lagerfeld concentrates on the detail of form, isolates it and thus emphasizes the line as the principal dynamic artistic element. In this way he 'cites' Tadao Ando by subjecting himself to a formal, architectural rigour. In addition, however, he creates new forms, formulates his own enigmatic, magical image-spaces. In them, the possibilities of expression of photography unite with the formative elements of the architecture.
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