Theme: Looking closely (at rocks)

Juergen Bergbauer: 42 Studien (Print Detail) Installation virtual 2008

42 Studien (Print Detail)
Installation virtual 2008 – JÜRGEN BERGBAUER

I first came across JÜRGEN BERGBAUER earlier this year through a 5b4 –review of Bergbauer’s book: Studien nach der Natur – which I see has made a “best of 2009 book list” on 5b4.  I wrote about my interest here in a previous entry

Bergbauer’s project – Studies after Nature” has been on my mind off and on for quite a while now.  In Bergbauer’s work – the “final” images are constructed out of an archive of objects – specifcally found objects (rocks) – from the roadside according to the artist statement.  The “studies” of the archive are arranged in various patterns of which I’m unsure of (or if) there may be an underlying organizing structure – outside of an aesthetic judgement and arrangement although the constructions do appear to be bound to a sense of gravity.  None the less the resulting constructions are I think quite beautiful – but also quite artificial – and deliberate – full of patterns hinting at structural issues – yet not really resolving them in my opinion. I’m also quite amazed (although admittedly it looks too laborious) at the amount of apparent work done to “catalogue” all of the pieces which are incorporated in to the final studies…

Untitled (basalt - East Central Oregon) 2009 - Matt Niebuhr
Untitled (basalt – East Central Oregon) 2009 – Matt Niebuhr

On my own road trip this summer, I came across a section of land by the roadside in East Central Oregon, that I have one image thus far that gets me very excited to explore further but with a different approach.

What I’m intrigued by is natural dazzle of that which can be found out in the world (by anyone) as determined by the forces of nature – just by looking carefully or deliberately.  This is a theme that I am beginning to be able to discern as a thread in a number of photo studies I’m working.  Here, the fractures of basalt arranged according to natural laws – the horizontal fissures describing the shifting forces inside the earth – reminders that the solid ground beneath is not still.  I’ve collected a few shards of basalt and the shapes that are revealed in these shards amaze me.  I’m looking forward to trying to document these shards in a meaningful way.  And then, I’m really looking forward to the next road trip back to eastern Oregon.

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