Jürgen Bergbauer





Jürgen Bergbauer

From top to bottom: Artificial Lawn in Ten Views (2011), Untitled no.3 (studies) (2008), Untitled (Parterre de Pieces Coupees I) (2004), Untitled (Parterre de Gazon I) (2004)

“Stephen Jay Gould once wrote that ‘the human mind delights in finding pattern – so much so that we often mistake coincidence or forced analogy for profound meaning. No other habit lies so deeply within the soul of a small creature trying to make sense of a complex world.’ This is the spirit that influences the work of Juergen Bergbauer, a German-born, RISD-educated photographer whose images highlight the tense harmonies that exist between man and his natural surroundings. ‘That’s my understanding of photography,’ Bergbauer says. ‘It’s about registering the visual world and endowing it with order and meaning. I’s a strong human desire.’

Bergbauer draws attention to the stark, irregular beauty of organic forms by photographing them in crisp monochrome, and altering the image, divorcing figure from ground. The artist’s technique is to juxtapose arrangements of objects that demand a natural context against a sterile, even, white blankness, the most antiseptic modernist tool. The resulting composition presents what might be considering mundane components (an assemblage of mildly chamfered stones, for instance, pocked and textured by time) in a new light, with all intent and arch-modernist jouissance of a Barbara Hepworth sculpture.

Earlier works by Bergbauer focused on the lushly-manicured gardens of the eighteenth- and nineteenth century Europe, with their strict axialities and topiary labyrinths. Channeling the adversarial relationship between Western man and his wild natural surroundings, the artist succeeded in abstracting the pure formalism and orthogonal willfulness of pre-modern landscape architecture, to mesmerizing effect.”

-Excerpt from text written by Kevin Greenberg for The Last Magazine Issue 10 (Full Text)

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