Stephan Huber: Shining, 2001,
Deutsche Bank Collection
Then, the viewer
notices that something must be wrong with the picture: the entire
arrangement turns out, in reality, to be completely artificial. Huber does
in fact play with primordial human fears, only to elegantly sidestep them
with a wink of an eye. It's not a portrayal of reality after all, but only
a model the artist set up in his studio at home. The terror that initially
overcomes the viewer amounts to nothing more than a deception at the hands
of something that's not even particularly refined. Thus, Huber chiefly
confronts us with ourselves - and our willingness to construct, in a kind
a reflex, a horrible "truth" out of a few initial optical signals.
The irony that Huber brings to bear points in a direction
that has received too little attention in the midst of all the sublime
earnestness discussed previously. Winter is the time of drama, harsh
contrasts, and the greatest distress, but that doesn't mean there's no
room for humor. The photographer Walter Niedermayr is an artist who wants
his pictures to point to the shaky equilibrium between nature and
civilization and "make simple things visible."
Walter Niedermayr, from the series: Momentary Resorts,
VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Yet it's also true that
when one takes a closer look at his
works and sees these tiny human dots fearlessly gliding through the fog,
bundled up warmly and riding back up the slope on ski lifts or wandering
in and out between frighteningly deep fissures in glaciers, then one can't
suppress a small, wry smile.
Thus, Niedermayr inspires a wide array
of reactions: awe and pleasure, respect, amusement, and wordless
astonishment. Niedermayr knows that he has a lot to thank the mountains
for. But he's also given them something back, something they already
seemed in danger of losing: their dignity.