Gábor Ösz — Blow-up – The Window
Blow-up – The Window
Past: November 5 → December 4, 2010
I filmed and photographed a location that suggests the initial park scene of Michelangelo Antonioni’s movie, Blow-Up. In this night scene, the camera pans across a garden that — in order to make a black-and-white negative of it look real — was partly manipulated through lighting and partly through painting the vegetation. The color images that show the real situation seem unreal and conversely, after turning the images into black-and-white negatives, the repainted segment of the garden shows up as a lifelike, daytime image. In actuality, the night is equivalent to the negative of the daytime.
To discretely implant this reversal in the film, the camera zooms into the night sky where the image is slowly transferred to a black-and-white negative. As the sky grows lighter and eventually whitens, it gives the impression of daybreak. Then the image slowly zooms out from the sky until the black-and-white negative looks like a representation of the same scene in the daytime.
The combination of manipulated and unmanipulated garden scenes in both color and in a black-and-white negative image creates confusion between what is real and unreal in this scene and, in a broader sense, raises questions regarding the representation of reality.
In Antonioni’s movie, we witness the photographer’s struggle with analogue pictures as he gets closer and closer to the unknown, transposing the images back and forth between positive and negative. The metaphorical use of his film, the action of blowing up the picture, refers to the investigation and penetration of the image and access to the unknown and invisible.
In a new project called The Window, I have developed another approach to the notion of extreme close-up or incision into photographic images that I have attempted to render visible in my project Blow-up. The Window is at once the first part of an ongoing project and the last work in the series about Nazi architecture. This new project is about Hitler’s famous Holiday house, the Berghof, which no longer exists. The building was blown up in 1952, because the Americans were afraid that the place would become a pilgrimage. It had a four by eight meter high picture window looking out on the Bavarian mountains. This was the biggest panoramic site of its kind of this time. Megalomania consistently played an important role in the architecture of Nazi Germany.
The window is important not only because of its size, but also its view. The window directly faced the Unterberg. Since the Middle Ages, a mystical meaning has been attributed to this mountain. Hitler probably knew this legend and the claim that this mountain possessed magical power. I have searched the Internet looking for images of the building. I could only find three photographs taken from inside the big room that look out through the monumental window onto the mountains. The space was destroyed by the war. In this dark burned up shell, no windowpanes remain. What was left looked like a big hole. One image was taken from the left side of the room, one from the center, and one from the right. When put together, they give the impression of the complete view from the building.
I cut out the windows from the images so that only the very edges of the window frame are visible. The black edges look like they are the edges of a print made from a negative. In this way, the images recall analogue photographs and this is why I have tried to turn them back into analogue images.
I placed a large format negative sheet film on my laptop screen, made a contact negative, and then a blow-up from the negative to fit the largest size of barite paper that still exists. The use of analogue techniques might perhaps reconnect them with the moment in time when these images were taken.
This work raises several questions: can a landscape be guilty, or, is it possible to link history to a certain view of a landscape? This is not a new idea but is instead another perspective on a question that already exists.
Opening Thursday, November 4, 2010 at 6 PM
6, rue Jacques Callot
T. 01 53 10 85 68 — F. 01 53 10 89 72
Tuesday – Saturday, 11 AM – 7 PM
Other times by appointment