Tuesday, March 2, 2010


 Marco Breuer's photographic process
Posted at 6:00 AM on February 19, 2010 by Euan Kerr

"Several of Breuer's images are on display at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts beginning this weekend. It's simply called "New Pictures:2"

The images are all very different. There is the swirling image above, but there are others with intricate patterns scratched into their surface. 

"I want these images to read photographically," he says. He creates images in one way, but due to the way people tend to see photographs, they can appear to be something else. 

For instance one piece looks as if it is textured like a rug, until you get close-up and see the lines are the result of pieces of fluff and other material produced by scoring the paper before processing. The image is quite flat.

"What I don't want the images to be is kind of a check list," he says, meaning people should not be able to readily identify certain things in the images. "There always remains a degree of openness in the whole matter."

Breuer takes this almost to extremes. He has had a long standing rule that his own face does not appear with his work. He's a photographer who sees problems in having his own image appear with his work. He chuckles a little when asked about it, but then explains

"From my own experience there are certain artists that I wish I didn't know what they look like. I wish I had never seen a photograph," he says. "I just want to experience the work. And so a while back I made the decision that for myself I would just take my likeness out of the equation. What I have to say is in the work, and there it is."

Breuer's process is ever-evolving however, and this is true of this show."
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Contemporary Art Photographers Mess With the Medium
Anxiety? Fetish? Picture-prone artists are loving themselves some process.

By Martha Schwendener

Tuesday, October 13th 2009 at 11:50am

"The question of why certain practices thrive at particular moments feels like the art world equivalent of asking why honeybee populations have collapsed in the last decades or mussels have started growing in the Hudson. Why, for instance, are contemporary photographers—or, if you like, artists working with photography—obsessed with abstraction, materiality, and process?

First, the evidence. A good place to start is "Processed: Considering Recent Photographic Practices" at Hunter College (East 68th Street and Lexington, through December 12). The show includes artists like Marco Breuer, whose spectral abstractions, made by scratching and scuffing chromogenic paper, are hung across from Josh Brand's photograms that look like muted Josef Albers paintings."

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Art Reviews | 'New Photography 2009,' 'Processed,' 'Surface Tension'
Into the Darkroom, With Pulleys, Jam and Snakes 
Published: November 5, 2009 

"Three current shows, at two major museums and a university art gallery, outline the manifold choices available to contemporary photographers. They might even provoke the kind of debates about gesture, process and intent that used to coalesce around painting.

"New Photography 2009," at the Museum of Modern Art, is an excellent place to begin. The curator, Eva Respini, steers this installment of MoMA’s annual series away from street and documentary photography, a refreshing departure from tradition. Ms. Respini has also expanded it to include six artists rather than the usual two or three."

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Second Solo Exhibition Continues Minneapolis Institute of Arts Photography Series

Pan (C-362), c. 2005, Chromogenic paper

MINEAPOLIS, MN.- The second exhibition in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts' new photography series featuring emerging artists will present the work of German artist Marco Breuer, and attempt to answer the question: What is a photograph? Breuer's bold and experimental approach eschews the camera itself. Instead, he strips photography to its essential materiality, presenting works created by manipulating the surface of light-sensitive photographic paper. The exhibition will be on view from February 18 through August 1, 2010, in two parts. For the opening, Breuer will present selections of old and new works. Then, in mid-March, he will alter the space in the Perlman Gallery to evoke a darkroom, emphasizing the artist’s process of creating a photograph.
"Marco Breuer challenges the viewer to re-examine the most basic assumptions about photography," said curator David Little. "Both his creative process and the scale of his completed works suggest a new way creating photographic art, making him a terrific artist to participate in the MIA's 'New Pictures' series.”

Using an extensive and continually evolving range of processes to extract abstract and visually compelling images from photographic paper, Breuer’s work eviscerates the usual expectations of the camera-less image. He might place burning coals on the paper, or slice into it, or sandpaper the emulsion until holes appear. Much like mid-20th century European and American abstract painters, Breuer said he likes "to be in there, physically involved with the image."


Breuer was born in 1966 in Landshut, Germany. He has exhibited widely throughout the United States and Europe and his work is included in numerous collections, including those at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University in Cambridge, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the New York Public Library, the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart, Germany. His publication 'SMTWTFS' received wide critical acclaim and a photo-eye Gallery Award for Best Photography Book of 2002. In 2007 Aperture published a monograph of his work titled "Early Recordings". Breuer lives in upstate New York."

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Critic's Notebook

Marked Up
by Vince Aletti

December 26, 2005

"Marco Breuer’s primary medium is photography, but you would never know it from looking at his new show at Von Lintel. Although most of the thirty-six small pieces here were made using two of the earliest nineteenth-century photographic printing processes—gum bichromate and cyanotype—none of the work involves a camera, a lens, film, or a recognizable image. With their pitted surfaces, full of holes and flecked with color, Breuer’s abstractions look like moth-eaten camouflage or aerial views of some forbidden planet. Like Vik Muniz and Adam Fuss, Breuer tests the limits of the medium, always experimenting, never repeating himself. In the past, he has exploited the unpredictable results of putting mold, jello, beer, hot coals, and even blood on photographic paper. “Abraded” is how he describes the condition of his best new works, but it’s an understatement. Repeatedly sanded, gouged, and folded, these pieces have endured a level of creative violence that makes their splendid final state all the more ravishing."

Youth and the Market: Love at First Sight  

By Michael Kimmelman

Published: March 18, 2005 

"THE second "Greater New York," the youth-besotted, cheerful, immodestly ingratiating jumbo survey of contemporary art, has opened to the predictable mobs at P.S. 1 in Queens. It roams from roof to basement, weaving in stairwells, a ramshackle behemoth. 

The first installment, five years ago, arrived with deft timing, in competition with the 2000 Whitney Biennial. Fixed on recently emerged artists, it seemed fresh and a bit scruffy, even if it wasn't. Whitney Biennials and their equivalents, creaky relatives from a bygone age, too ecumenical and tradition-bound, increasingly supported a brand of installation art custom-made for hothouse festivals and their transient clientele but otherwise largely unwanted, unmarketable and wearying. Then "Greater New York" happened, a messy, unformed rival and gambit, upbeat, offering multimedia efforts but with a stress toward paintings - well-behaved, clever, snappy paintings by young artists, of the sort making some headway in galleries. These were works suited to the dawning of a new art market boom. 

Mining late modernism is an area of wide currency, encompassing Karyn Olivier's trompe l'oeil construction of a cheaply ornate coffee table supporting a plain white pillar, and Marco Breuer's drawings, if that's what to call them: delicately scratched sheets of photographic paper, making multicolored stripes."

Marco Breuer
(Outward Manifestations of) Something Else
by Farrah Karapetian
Von Lintel Gallery
"(Outward Manifestations of) Something Else presents a new, confident body of color pictures. Light white streaks and bubbles dot the rich brown surface of "PAN (C-306)." The bubbles are caused by sand underneath the print at the time of scoring, and give the impression of three-dimensionality to an otherwise extremely flat plane. Some pieces resemble a kind of metallic grosgrain, and the colors Breuer achieves range from cheerful yellows to the bright white of reflected light.
Handsome, strong, exponentially detailed, this work demonstrates literally that a print is a worked surface. Here is a photographer completely at home with the fact that his medium is a medium, unafraid to work with the print as such. His efforts are those of a draftsman, but the works are profoundly photographic in terms of their element of revelation: what happens between a light, a chemical, and a surface that is not predetermined by the imaginative apparatus of man? Marco Breuer’s work is a dare and a lesson. Description is not the end of photography."
Read full article @ The Brooklyn Rail

Space Case Marco Breuer Investigates 
Photography’s Outer Limits
Vince Aletti Tuesday, February 29th 2000
"Spit, blood, whiskers, and nail clippings. Jello, Windex, a slice of Wonder Bread, a Zippo lighter. Beer, vodka, mold, wallpaper, bottles, kitchen matches, bomb fuses, hot coals, a blowtorch. Photographer Marco Breuer, who has used all these things in the process of creating cameraless photograms, talks about his work as a sort of personal inventory—one that begins with "harvesting" his body and encompasses virtually every element of his immediate world. "I try to ground all the work in my own life," he says, but Breuer's modest, improvisatory means don't begin to account for his sophisticated results. Though often quite literal records of ordinary objects and events, his pictures, now up at Esso Gallery, take off into pure abstraction—a teeming, bottomless unknown, at once utterly enigmatic and simply sublime. Are we peering into deep space or a subatomic stew? A magnetic field or a meteor trail? Like Adam Fuss, Roger Newton, Steven Pippin, and other frequent visitors to photography's outer limits, Breuer takes us places we've never been yet never want to leave." Read full article

Marco Breuer: Counting in Circles —by Jacqueline Brody

To order visit Art on Paper
Vol. 6 No. 1
September / October 2001 Marco Breuer: Counting in Circles —by Jacqueline Brody The Printed Works of Terry Winters —by Nancy Princenthal Landscape in 19th-Century Wallpaper —by Joanne Kosuda-Warner From Michelangelo to Cellini —by Alexander Perrig

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