For Photo London 2020, The Nicholas Metivier Gallery is pleased to present Aerial / Abstract, a special presentation of large-format photographs by Ljubodrag Andric
and Edward Burtynsky.
Long-time colleagues and friends, their painterly and highly detailed images have continued to push the boundaries of photographic representation. Examples of Burtynsky’s aerial photographs, as well as other recent projects will be paired with recent works from Andric's India series. While their respective approaches to subject and aesthetic diverge, a mutual admiration for art history, particularly painting, sets up a compelling dialogue between their respective practices.
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When in an image the abstract prevails over the representational, we invariably have a sense that time is suspended. Many painters - centuries ago - discovered and applied this intuitively. Such images make us want to stay in front of them almost indefinitely, acutely aware that something important is happening somewhere between the image and ourselves; but also that world - and us as part of it - is a magnificent web of relationships, rather than distinct objects and events.
In Burtynsky's work the particular - often aerial - vantage point takes this visual dynamic much further; his powerful, intuitive compositions arrest us as we are suddenly certain to be in front of something important, something that transcends time and goes to the archaic essence of our being in the world. Yet it is only when we are physically in front of one of his large works on a wall that we can actually comprehend the nature of such encounter. There, the tactile and the visual sing together, loudly. Burtynsky's works awaken the awareness of our own bodily being in the world.
To understand Andric's work is to leave your search for subject and narrative in the traditional sense behind. These images are from a place, India, but they are not simply about India. In keeping with the established arc of his production, these images are more about the artist's finely tuned eye. He sees layered references to the history of art in places we would pass by without a second thought if we were touring India. It's a taut formal vision that can only be understood by standing in front of the prints themselves - one needs to stand in their presence - it is only then that we come to understand the full power of his image-making.
Andric offers us a palpable, mystical sense of place and presence. Through his masterful digital technique and keen sensitivity to light and colour we are drawn in, entranced by highly detailed textures and sophisticated compositional tensions. These images ultimately transcend their subject matter, allowing us access to a highly attenuated Zen-like, meditative state.