Marco Breuer: Line of Sight
Marco Breuer Apr 02 - Oct 02
de Young Museum
by Brian Andrews
|Spin (C-818), 2008; |
chromogenic paper, exposed, embossed, and abraded;
10.8 x 8.5 in.
In 2005 when the de Young "museum opened their new Herzog & de Meuron‑designed facility in Golden Gate Park, the museum endeavored to update their engagement with contemporary art practices. Most visibly, five large-scale works were commissioned from blue chip artists to be featured at the building’s opening celebration, including an immense print by Gerhard Richter, a meditation stupa by James Turrell, a glass installation by Kiki Smith, an outdoor sculpture and crack in the landscaping by Andy Goldsworthy, and a series of paintings by Ed Ruscha. Less sensational but potentially more impactful, the de Young also initiated their Collection Connections program with a series of work by local photographer Catherine Wagner. The program debuted with the objective of integrating contemporary practices with the de Young’s eclectic general collection holdings by asking artists to create a body of work both inspired by and displayed with objects from the de Young’s permanent collection. Marco Breuer: Line of Sight is the latest installment in this program.
Breuer’s studio practice engages the technological apparatus of photographic image-making without participating in the act of photography itself. Rather, Breuer tinkers with photosensitive papers, subjecting them to all kinds of nontraditional physical manipulations prior to chemical processing. To create Untitled (Study for Tremors) (2000), Breuer strafed a heating element from an old frying pan across an unexposed sheet of black-and-white silver gelatin paper. After processing, the transformed chemical elements have merged with the toasted charring of the prints’ base in an abstract image reminiscent of Richter’s squeegee-based paintings. In Spin (C-818) (2008), radial scratches illuminate colors on the surface of chromogenic paper, creating a science fiction wormhole effect. Both his technique and its results demonstrate Breuer’s interest in the obfuscation of image content within an artwork by the methods of its construction and accidents of its history."