Balthasar Burkhard & Naoya Hatakeyama / Karl Geiser
Balthasar Burkhard & Naoya Hatakeyama
“Two Mountains” is an artistic project which the two photographers, Balthasar Burkhard from Switzerland (born 1944) and Naoya Hatakeyama from Japan (born 1958), were invited to join. Each examined the mountain world of the other’s respective homeland, thus linking up the criteria for viewing landscape with the individual photographic language of imagery used by each artist.
The two bodies of work were presented in Tokyo in 2006, whereby one exhibition followed the other; the MdM SALZBURG now presents them
simultaneously, directly juxtaposing them. The dialogue-based character and the subjective independent nature of their photographic viewpoints can thus be perceived in comparison.
Balthasar Burkhard is the doyen of Swiss contemporary photography, internationally renowned for his imposing urban portraits, the subtle black
& white portrayals of nature and vegetation. He had been to Japan before, and now selected for the project two very contemplative mountain situations: Kumano and Mt. Koya. A key feature of both locations is that they are perceived not so much as mountains per se, but rather in terms of their significance as holy places, within the context of a close-to-nature, Far Eastern religiosity.
Naoya Hatakeyama was in Switzerland for the first time, directing his interest to the monumental massifs of the Bern Alps. Taking a critical, distanced view, he observes the conquest of the mountain world by tourism and alpine climbing, the directed view of the mountains provided by viewing terraces and panorama platforms, as well as the processing of the motifs in the museum’s installation.
The juxtaposing of these two views is shaped by each artist’s interaction with his own past and his approach to the unfamiliar. The formidable achievements and challenges of alpine climbing are counterposed with ancestors’ resting places in the sacred groves. It seems to be the prerogative of the traveller from abroad to capture what is unfamiliar to him in a symptomatic language.
Salzburg’s environment is also a mountain landscape. The romanticism of “untouched nature”, of folklore and the search for spirituality is at odds
with the necessity for new concepts of use for business and tourism.
Particularly in Salzburg, the “Two Mountains” exhibition can contribute, not just to counterposing two varying ways of looking at different mountain worlds and drawing them into a controversial dialogue; the exhibition also offers the possibility for visitors to take stock of their own mountain world, having two differing perceptions as points of reference.
Karl Geiser (1898—1957), one of the most significant 20th-century Swiss sculptors, was also an obsessive photographer. The camera released him
from the unfulfillable aspirations which almost crushed him in his sculpture work. He photographed when he wanted to capture the atmospheric, the fleeting experience, the play of light, the external or internal mood — on streets and squares, at markets and folk festivals; or in his atelier, in order to “appropriate” his models. His pictures show an intensive, loving view of people, yet they also fit together to form a spontaneous, touching chronicle of his feelings.
Karl Geiser died at the end of March 1957 in his Zurich atelier — the exact date is unknown. 50 years after Geiser’s death, David Streiff, who is also curating the Salzburg exhibition, has systematically processed or newly assessed Geiser’s photographic legacy on behalf of the Fotostiftung Schweiz. For the exhibition, new prints were produced from previously overlooked negatives. A selection of the more than 400 cardboard sheets, on which Geiser arranged his pictures, thematically, serially or rhythmically, also provides an insight into a strikingly modern centre-piece of his photographic work.
The exhibition, primarily dedicated to his photography, is supplemented by a number of sculptures and a representative selection from Geiser’s drawing
and graphic work.
30/10/08 - 11/1/09
at the Auditory of the MdM Mönchsberg
The photographer Christian Wurm, born in Austria in 1952 and living in Bavaria, presents his pictures to mark the 13th Salzburg Jazz Autumn in the MdM MÖNCHSBERG.
Christian Wurm’s evocative pictures skilfully capture the atmosphere surrounding jazz concerts and artists/musicians, away from the frenetic action
and the furore on the stage and in the audience. His photos are akin to still-lifes: their hallmarks are calm and contemplation. Wurm brings sensitivity to bear, in using light and shadow, sharp images and indistinct images, silhouettes and, above all, colour. He directs his focus to instruments, note
sheets, note stands and the stage, and places certain details in the focal point.
Image: Naoya Hatakeyama, Trockener Steg (Matterhorn), 2005, Lamda print, 60 x 122,7 cm, Courtesy of the artist
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