Temporal Dimension in Image and the Pursuit of Atmosphere
German artist Andreas Walther first visited Taiwan in 1998. Since then, he has formed strong ties with the island and has had various project cooperations during several long stays. 20 years later, this small-scale retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Taipei, shows some of his photographic works from the recent years in line with his early video works.
Wandering between video and photography, Walther’s early works share one specific feature, which is his emphasis on the temporal dimension. Although video and photography are both art forms based on image, the temporality displayed in video is fluid and open to manipulation, as one can forward, rewind and control the speed of progression; on the other hand, traditional photography represents a temporal slice captured from the flow of time. This exhibition features one particular video artwork created in 2002, in which the artist filmed the sunset of the same period in both Germany and Taiwan. Due to the difference in latitude, the work shows a vivid contrast between the two videos in terms of the sunset’s time span and changes of light. The two time periods are juxtaposed to demonstrate a direct contrast in the exhibition. In his later work, Walther has focused on the photography of landscape and nature. Attempting to break through the photographic retrains on the subject of time, he adopts the approach of digital photography and the technique of retouching, which allow him to contemplate longer on the inner feelings when photographs are taken. By overlapping or juxtaposing images from different time periods, he recreates the overall atmosphere of the moment he felt moved and pressed the shutter.
The artist’s exploration and pursuit of atmosphere can be detected in his more recent works as well. Starting from a subjective viewpoint, he uses photography to convey the atmosphere that he perceived when he took the photographs. Nevertheless, from the viewer’s point of view, the so-called atmosphere can also be a state of mind as a response to the objective environment. In this exhibition, Walther experiments with various means to visualize his artistic pursuit. In addition to large scale single photographs, the audience can also see two-channel videos, such as the one mentioned above, an extended horizontal scroll and works created through printing on black paper. The artist intends to transform the exhibition from a straightforward display of images into a contemplative viewing experience that gradually unfolds, and this attempt has indeed revealed a deeper layer of meaning conveyed through the exhibition title ‚Wandering.