Model Landscape. Photography
March 12 to June 5, 2017
The Sinclair House Museum is the first institution to exhibit a comprehensive overview of the artist Thomas Wrede, documenting the relationships and artistic developments of his photographic works ranging from the early 1990s to his current series.
Wrede’s vantage point has always been associated with a deep emotional need to be linked with nature and the question of how this is presented within today’s media. Early in the 1990s, the Danish island of Samsö precipitated a series of photographs exposing a dying landscape with surfaces that had been distorted by agricultural plastic sheeting. Here, Wrede juxtaposes both the ugly and the picturesque interwoven within these plastic landscapes. In 1994, he captured the remnants left by the impact of birds on windowpanes that appear to float like ghosts between the here and the hereafter; the tall-format, black-and-white images vacillate between a single moment and infinity.
Ultimately, Wrede’s quest is to explore the boundaries between the artificial and the real. The world is reproduced in his work increasingly more as a sort of model kit, as a major scene in small-scale, somewhere between the idyllic and the catastrophic. In his "Real Landscapes" toy cars and miniature model houses are placed on the beaches and sand pits of the North Sea islands such that a puddle is transformed into a lake and a pile of dirt morphs into a mountain. The photographic illusions of his imaginary worlds are not a product of digital processing, but are due to the absence of size ratios within the real landscape. Yet, the image of the image does not lead to reality, but to the contemplation of the scene as a fictional version of reality.
In other photographic series, Thomas Wrede exposes the attempts that amusement parks make at building “realistic” scenery, and photographic tapestries of natural scenes of adding depth to our living spaces. In contrast, the photographs of summery beach scenes entitled “Seascapes” seem irritatingly staged and somehow less realistic than his “Real Landscapes”
Thomas Wrede (born 1963) studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Münster, Germany (Master’s class 1991) and under the instruction of Dieter Appelt in Berlin. He has been a professor for photography and media at the University of Fine Arts in Essen (HBK), since 2015. Thomas Wrede is represented by the Mike Karsten Galleries (Münster), Wagner + Partner (Berlin), and Beck & Eggeling (Düsseldorf). Since 1996, Wrede has shown his work in numerous international exhibitions.