23rd April – 2nd May 2017
Wolfgang Müllner’s photographs are marine panoramas of a kind familiar from vacation shots. The horizon divides the picture right down the middle. Müllner then takes the color information “inscribed in” a given picture and calculates the average tonal values of sea and sky, respectively. He uses these two values to “overwrite” the image with monochrome fields, pushing the original motif back to the edges of the picture so that it serves as a mere “passe-partout,” a matte for a new form that renders an interpretation of the same segment of reality.
Martin Breindl’s graphic cycle Die Sehnsucht nach dem Meer (konkrete Version) translates the “longing for the sea” into a literal “description” of identical motifs. An imaginary horizon line splits the superimposed words HIMMEL und MEER, or SKY and SEA, in two and reconstructs them. Step by step, Breindl lends concrete substance to the composition by applying the same method to different manifestations and a spectral perception of the motif, almost incidentally revealing it to be a mirror image. Müllner’s and Breindl’s works are at heart essays in writing. The dialogue between the pictures playfully dismantles the distinction between “photography” and “graphic art.” What Müllner conceives of as the multiplicity of seascapes is to Breindl’s mind an instance of linguistic variety. Both perspectives are systematic and formulaic, suggesting the ways in which industrial standards and specifications inform our increasingly “automated” perception of the world around us.