Friday, April 6, 2012

Viewing Tobias Kaspar

"A boy and a girl in summer clothes at the Palazzo Venier di Leoni in Venice are the main protagonists of a series of photographs on view in the exhibition "Bodies in the Backdrop". In addition to the two adolescents, the photos depict details of the space and other visitors, captured between fragmentarily photographed artworks and interior views of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. On the passe–partouts are excerpts from "Confessions of an Art Addict" (1946), the memoirs of the gallerist, collector and patron, Peggy Guggenheim."

Images and text (in mildly clunky translation from German) provided by Halle für Kunst, Lüneburg (demonstrating admirable institutional boldness in offering this first solo exhibition to an artist still in his twenties).

Here, the subject of art is the viewing of art. This simple device emerged as a favorite with painters toward the end of the Renaissance (if my memory is correct). And remained in use constantly throughout the Baroque. The Enlightenment loved it. The Impressionists loved it. The Victorians loved it. And of course the many various Moderns and Post-Moderns during our just-ended century of disasters loved it very much.

Tobias Kaspar sees this venerable trope in terms of 21st century fashion photography with its glamorous, off-kilter edge. His work marches his theme into the future, flat and slick.