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Kathrin Linkersdorff and the Basque artist Maria Jauregui Ponte exhibit their photographic works at Galerie Springer Berlin
Hans-Jörg Rother, Der Tagesspiegel, Berlin, 17 August 2019
The wonderful glow of dry flowers in Kathrin Linkersdorff’s black-primed photographic works at Galerie Springer in Berlin is immediately captivating. It would seem as if these wilting flowers were seeking – in a final act – to display their beauty to the viewer, were it not for a sheet of glass protecting the hyper- sensitive prints from injury.
Our thoughts go back to 18th century Dutch panel painting where bunches of flowers or bowls of fruit emanate in luscious colors from a dark background. What in former times was achieved by the painter’s mastery, is accomplished here by the camera, and where the old masters reverted to the splendors of unfolding nature, Kathrin Linkersdorff composes her images with dust-dry flowers, which she carefully sets in the right light with the help of tweezers.
That which at first glance may simply look like a refined arrangement, metaphorically stands for more. In Japanese culture, beginning and end, spring and fall, are the most beautiful phases of life: when something commences, and when something passes away. Kathrin Linkersdorff, born in Berlin in 1966, adopted this perception in Tokyo, where she studied the secrets of Japanese ink wash painting after completing her architectural studies at the Technische Universität Cottbus. “Wabi Sabi” is what she calls this great series in square format, begun in 2014, which for the first time finds a larger public.
The powerful effect of the works is due not least to a printing technique which, as the artist tells us, has been mastered by a few experts only. She thereby highlights the dye transfer process, with which American artist William Eggleston was one of the first to experiment in the early seventies, and in which the image – in short – is composed from three different color plates. In these photographic compositions, analog and digital processes merge into a single entity. One could listen for a long time to Linkersdorff’s elaborations on the lengthy creation process of her photographs, but the eye is already drawn to a second more recent series, the “Floriszenzen” [“Florescences”]. Here, light takes the place of darkness and dying beauty is replaced by the perception that colors find a new vitality when the flowers, if immersed in glass jars filled with water, prevail within the cycle of becoming and passing away.
After her sojourn in Japan and starting in 2006, Linkersdorff completed additional training at the Schule für Fotografie am Schiffbauerdamm founded by Arno Fischer. Only years later, the Basque artist Maria Jauregui Ponte, born in 1972, studied at the Neue Schule für Fotografie, which is the successor institute.
Jauregui Ponte’s works now hang opposite those of Linkersdorff. Whereas the latter lean towards the Japanese philosophy of art, which is reflected in each individual composition, one could charge the Berlin- based younger colleague with an unmistakable inclination towards Spanish darkness. On the one hand, in her cameraless series “Überstrahlungen” [“Outshinings”], her photos look as if they are attempting to compete with Mark Rothko’s almost monochrome compositions. On the other hand, her night pictures, caught by the camera and occasionally revealing blades of grass and leaves, feel as if they are concealing a secret. No less ambitious is the “Phosphor” [“Phosphorus”] series, where amorphous shapes light up on a dark background in the glow of a torch.
“Lumineszenzen” [“Luminescences”] is the title of this experimental summer exhibition and Galerie Springer promises that both artists will now “expand the gallery’s program”. What good news.
Galerie Springer Berlin, Fasanenstraße 13; from 13 July through to 14 September
Talk with Ingo Taubhorn, Curator House of Photography | Deichtorhallen Hamburg on 11 September, 7:00 pm.
(translated from the German by Dr.Helen Adkins, Berlin)
Kathrin Linkersdorff und die baskische Künstlerin Maria Jauregui Ponte stellen ihre fotografischen Arbeiten in der Galerie Springer aus
Hans-Jörg Rother, Der Tagesspiegel, Berlin, 17. August 2019
For her series “Floriszenzen” [“Florescences”], 2019, Kathrin Linkersdorff immerses various flowers such as tulips in glass jars filled with water.