This is the most comprehensive exhibition to date by German artist Christiane Baumgartner. Based in Leipzig, Germany, a city famous for printmaking, the artist acknowledges the tradition she originates from, whilst developing an extraordinarily distinct practice.
Baumgartner’s work focuses on the everyday world in motion and the passage of time. This preoccupation is not only the subject of her work, it is also embodied in her artistic process, which often involves the painstaking medium of woodcut.
Baumgartner starts with photography and video, recording moments in time and sequences of movement. Traced motifs are then meticulously carved by hand into panels of wood. A print is taken from this, often involving handmade paper and ink, in a procedure assumed to be the earliest means of image reproduction.
The subject of movement is the theme of the various images – the view of cars on a motorway, aeroplanes on a runway, a modern ‘wind farm’, road tunnels and so on. Baumgartner’s work is based on recognisable scenes, with human beings represented only through machines and other features of built environments. These images are captured and re-presented with precise technical accuracy – the long and physical woodcutting process slowing down the technology that features in the work.
Transall, (2002) is a breathtaking work, over four metres in length. It shows a magnified press photo of three cargo planes, aligned on a landing strip, the wings of each aircraft stretching across the entire length of the panoramic image. The horizontal lines, resulting from the artist’s incisions, combine to make the image readable. They mimic not only the way we read from books, but also the way we normally register the phenomenon of speed here on earth – the fact that from our points of view, planes tend to move sideways.
This exhibition was kindly supported by the Institut für Auslands-beziehungen e.V., the Urban Fusion programme and Saxony in the UK 2005.
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