The second exhibition in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts
new photography series featuring emerging artists will present the work of German artist Marco Breuer, and attempt to answer the question: What is a photograph? Breuers bold and experimental approach eschews the camera itself. Instead, he strips photography to its essential materiality, presenting works created by manipulating the surface of light-sensitive photographic paper. The exhibition will be on view from February 18 through August 1, 2010, in two parts. For the opening, Breuer will present selections of old and new works. Then, in mid-March, he will alter the space in the Perlman Gallery to evoke a darkroom, emphasizing the artists process of creating a photograph.
Marco Breuer challenges the viewer to re-examine the most basic assumptions about photography, said curator David Little. Both his creative process and the scale of his completed works suggest a new way creating photographic art, making him a terrific artist to participate in the MIAs New Pictures series.
Using an extensive and continually evolving range of processes to extract abstract and visually compelling images from photographic paper, Breuers work eviscerates the usual expectations of the camera-less image. He might place burning coals on the paper, or slice into it, or sandpaper the emulsion until holes appear. Much like mid-20th century European and American abstract painters, Breuer said he likes to be in there, physically involved with the image.
"Untitled (C-281)" comprises a range of orange and black stripes with subtle variations of width between the vertical striations. Breuer created this elegant formal abstraction by scratching and removing layers of chemicals from the surface of chromogenic paperthe standard paper used by most color photographers. The result produces nearly pure abstractions that hover somewhere on photographys outer limits.
In a time of technological progress, Breuer confronts and upends many of photographys historical and current conventions. The distinctive blue tone of "Spin (E-197)" is the result of a cyanotype printing method invented by Sir John Herschel in the mid-19th century, at the very beginning of photographys emergence. In a medium known for multiple editions, he makes unique works of art. And at a time when large-scale is often equated with being contemporary, Breuer creates modestly-scaled photographs in non-standard sizes.
Breuer was born in 1966 in Landshut, Germany. He has exhibited widely throughout the United States and Europe and his work is included in numerous collections, including those at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University in Cambridge, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the New York Public Library, the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart, Germany. His publication 'SMTWTFS' received wide critical acclaim and a photo-eye Gallery Award for Best Photography Book of 2002. In 2007 Aperture published a monograph of his work titled "Early Recordings". Breuer lives in upstate New York.