In the exhibition Himmel und Erde (Sky and Earth) pavlovs dog
presents the work of two photographic artists who point their cameras in diametrically opposed directions. Beatrix Reinhardt looks downwards, towards the soil and photographs seemingly nondescript grasses, whereas Conor Clarke looks upwards alongside the industrial chimneys, which are constantly emitting smoke towards the sky.
The grass in Beatrix Reinhardts photographs is growing on former battlefields in the region of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. In the 19th century this region was the site of numerous battles with the landscape being a silent witness of one historical drama after the other. The history of South Africa was unchangeably shaped by the bloody disputes on those fields. However, there are no visible traces on the grass today that grows on this soil, which was once blood soaked. The past with its battles and wars has literally been overgrown by the grass. By making the grass the focus of her imagery Beatrix Reinhardt also questions the possibility or impossibility to document a place with its history through the means of photography.
Complementary to Beatrix Reinhardts works, the photographs of Conor Clarke focus on one motif that is also closely linked to the 19th century as it is iconic for the era of the industrial revolution as well as the rise and success of capitalism: The smoking chimney. However, the artist hereby breaks with the traditional imagery that would show the chimney from mid-distance in the midst of other surrounding chimneys and their surrounding industrial plants. Instead, she separates the chimney from its environment and symmetrically puts its top and the emitting fumes alone in the centre of the image.
The composed images offer a fascinating variety of forms and shapes within the smoke and create an ambivalent feeling in the viewer that oscillates between beauty and ugliness. The associations vary from the relationship between men and nature, between capitalist mass productions and the history of the working class and eventually between climate change and energy transition.
Both of the works in this exhibition mutually illuminate each other and are both a contemplation of time and space, history and present as well as of the possibilities and boundaries of photography as such.
Beatrix Reinhardt (*1972) grew up in Jena, Germany. She studied New German Literature at the Freie Universität Berlin and at the New School for Social Research in New York from which she graduated with M.A. in Media Studies. Since the completion of a Master of Fine Arts degree, Reinhardt has been living, working and teaching in different parts of the world. She has been invited as artist-in-residence to universities and galleries in Finland, India, Australia, China and the US, amongst others. Presently she resides in NYC and is an associate professor at the City University of New York/CUNY. Reinhardts work has been exhibited internationally and was featured in a variety of publications including Die Zeit (Germany), Contact Sheet (USA), Prefix Photo (Canada), Flash Forward 2007 Book (Magenta Foundation), the photoMagazine (Germany) among others. Her work is included in a number of corporate, museum, private and university collections across the United States and abroad including the New York City Public Library, California Museum of Photography, Center of Photography at Woodstock, Light Work collection, Old Parliament House in Canberra/Australia and Rural Documentary Collection in Illinois.
Conor Clarke (*1982 Auckland, New Zealand) is a photographic artist, based in Berlin since 2009. Graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, University of Auckland, 2005. Current interests include the culture of collecting, landscape representation, the post-industrial picturesque, the Sublime, local tourism and experience. Since 2004 she has exhibited her work in Australia, Germany, New Zealand and Turkey. The work in the exhibition is taken from the series "In Pursuit of the Object, at a Proper Distance".