City of London with Fog, 2014 - artwork size: 243 x 150 cm
Within Series is a complex photographic project that illustrates a major change in direction in my practice. It started around 2012 and in this body of work I create very large scale urban studies, constructing them from dozens to hundreds of architectural photographs. To me, it represents a new style of working, a slower, more crafted e more meditative approach to creating images. A process that feels more connected with developing a large complex painting or drawing rather than traditional photography.
The idea of working with large scale images has been in my plans for a long time and I finally took it more seriously around the time my youngest son was born. I wanted to be active and present in his early years. Hence, to develop a long term project that I could work mainly from my studio (situated 5 min walk from my front door) seemed to be way forward. However the first large scale cityscape of the Series was made one year later in Porto Alegre, Brazil, shortly after the sudden death of my father.
The first artwork shows a large panorama viewed from my parent’s balcony overlooking the city. It was photographed the day after his funeral. It documents the view from one of his favorite places to reflect and admire life. it depicts an urban valley where at the base of it, is situated a famous old beer factory (Brahma) that was later converted into massive Shopping Centre. in his own words, that was once a green dale that later with progress became a concrete valley. He had written to me several poetical and philosophical letters about that landscape, often describing it at night, while the city was illuminated by the moonlight.
After returning to UK I started working in that panorama, between shifts of looking after my littler boy. It took me several months to finish that cityscape and I became very aware of the meditative and introspective quality of the process. I was studying in detail scenes from my own childhood on a daily basis. I felt very connected with father and my son at that time. However I also became aware I wouldn’t be able to carry on the project without funding as the process was very slow and time consuming. When finally finished, I showed that first image to someone at the Arts Council England in a meeting and was encouraged to submit an application to carry on developing the idea.
After several months and one initial failed attempt, my application was finally successful and suddenly I had resources to be able to research and develop the project further. As the project evolved, I soon realized that it became more about the process (my own experience) rather than the architecture. Most of my time was spent in the studio constructing the large scale digital negatives. It became more a revisit into my childhood memories. “As a young boy, I used to spend lots of time drawing buildings, motorway junctions & cityscapes viewed from above with a very realistic sense of perspective... I also remember the re-occurrence of electricity power failures: street generators that would temporarily fail, creating a sort of twilight or mini blackout in the neighborhood... “
As a practitioner, I have been aware that my main interest in photography is in the actual process and the artist experience, rather than just capturing a scene. My personal projects normally involves slowing down, using tripod and long exposures. This become even more apparent in the Within Series, where each artwork takes several weeks to be completed, sometimes months. The process is very meditative, introspective and slow. It blends elements of science (precision) which get combined with more artistic (intuitive) decisions.
Each city has it’s own characteristics and pace. As the cityscapes get made I am able to observe historical and cultural traces which were initially unnoticed. For example: while working on details of the New York roof tops with it’s many water tanks, I could see parallels to the work of Bernd and Hilla Becher with their scientific studies of industrial buildings and structures. In Sao Paulo, where vast amount of concrete, tall TV antennas, buildings of similar hight and raw graffiti dominate the skyline, the viewer gets clues about the city history, architecture and the culture living beneath.
Within Series has been created with the support of two grants by the Arts Council England. The project was selected for the Aesthetica Arts Prize, 2014, exhibited in many group shows and art fairs internationally and as a major solo show in Brazil at Galeria Bolsa de Arte, POA in 2015. Artworks from the series are now in several private collections in UK, Brazil and North America. "Paris, Eiffel Tower, La Defense, 2015" was recently acquired by the prestigious Joseph Cohen Family Collection in NY.
Paris Nord, 2015 - image size: 184 x 120 cm
London Victoria, 2013 - image size: 227 x 140cm
NY, Rockefeller, 2015 - artwork size: 182 x 120 cm
NY, Highline, Chelsea, 2017 - artwork size: 206 x 240 cm
Installation image, André Lichtenberg / Within Series exhibition, 2015, courtesy Galeria Bolsa de Arte
Paris, Eiffel Tower, La Defense, 2014