Stefan Burger’s photographic work, made for his exhibition at Kunsthalle Bern in 2017, stems from a long-term interest in the subtle charm of botanical objects. His images achieve a depth that still deceives, however, for it seems to also consist of almost magical surfaces. Flat depths, which may not directly resist verbalization, but from which the attempt to put them into words repeatedly slides off; for example, one can describe how an extremely scanty tendril appears suddenly as a vis-à-vis, or how entrancing certain manifestations of light or luster in the pictures are, since analog photography can achieve a different diversity than digital photography; one could speak about their chromatic auras, about the moodiness of chemical baths. But the attempt to verbalize formal manifestations, to translate the material into language, reaches its limits. For what can language add to the intensity of these photos? Their impact is based on something that can unfold beyond text and external content, in the joy of contemplation. Yet the images also lead away from themselves, their self-referentiality shifts and intertwines with other realities. The pictures are anything but pleasant, yet they bear the potentiality of beauty in that they open themselves up to the uniqueness of something that is—a plant, the light. They attempt to penetrate reality by drawing from sensuousness, to then return in the form of an artwork.
Kunsthalle Bern, Valèrie Knoll, Geraldine Tedder eds.
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