Robert Mann Gallery presents the upcoming exhibition Jörn Vanhöfen: Aftermath from March 15-May 5, 2012 with an opening night reception on Thursday, March 15 from 6-8pm.
In his debut exhibition at Robert Mann Gallery, Jörn Vanhöfen presents large format color photographs from his recent body of work, Aftermath. Although his subject is perhaps best characterized as human interventions in the landscape and the structures of civilization, Vanhöfen's images evince a psychological range extending beyond more familiar conceptions of post-New Topographics landscape photography. Not mere documents, these grand tableaus function as visual metaphors: allegories of architecture and the complex dynamic between nature and culture. Searching pictures, they suggest that amidst the decay and abandonment that all is not disconsolate and beyond redemption. Indeed, wit and awe appear in equal measure with outrage and condemnation. In one image from the series, a disconsolate apartment building, initially appearing passed over by the intractable advances of modernity, seems uninhabitable, until one notices the plume of smoke rising from the chimney — the sign of presence and beacon of persistence.
From sublime vertiginous vistas to restrained views on structures of refuse and ruin, Vanhöfen charts the effects of social drives that have globally propelled development and the pursuit of wealth. A peripatetic artist, Vanhöfen travels the world over, arriving at pictures that convey the tumult of the 21st century. Whether the harried trading floor of a Chicago commodities exchange or the humble structures of another era sequestered in the lee of freeway overpasses, Aftermath is sensitively attuned to the complex network of market and social forces. Mining the aesthetic and philosophical legacies of Romanticism, the artist deftly plays on established conventions while updating them to the concerns of the global present.
Formally complex, the photographs are remarkable for the restraint as much as the drama in the treatment of their subjects, a characteristic that carries over to the artist's delicate appreciation for the subtleties of chemical (as opposed to digital) printing. The images that comprise Aftermath depict a world unsettled, but not decimated.
Hatje Cantz published a catalogue of works in the series Aftermath in 2011.
Jörn Vanhöfen was born in Dinslaken, Germany in 1961. After initial studies in photography at the Folkwangschule Essen, he received his master's degree at the Hochscule für Grafik und Buchkunst in Leipzig. He has participated in exhibitions all over the world, including in Berlin, London, Tokyo, Amsterdam, Mexico City, and Havana. In addition to his own photographic output, Vanhöfen is an accomplished curator, critic, and educator. Vanhöfen lives in Berlin and Cape Town.
For more information visit www.robertmann.com.