Daniel & Geo Fuchs

Fragile Realities

On the occasion of DC – Open Galleries 2022  

Galerie Martina Kaiser is looking forward to a very special premiere: For the first time Daniel & Geo Fuchs will present selected works in our rooms. With "Fragile Realities" they will give us a unique insight into their work which will also be part of the exhibition "Wonderwalls" at the NRW-Forum Düsseldorf at the end of September.

The focus of "Fragile Realities" is on three cycles of works by the artist couple that, despite their different themes, have a unifying element and are highly topical. For it is about the fragility of our world; which is exemplified here by the subject of nature, artificial parallel universes and mysterious (non)places. Photography is less a categorical genre than a vehicle for Geo and Daniel Fuchs' conceptual work. Thus, they do not consider themselves photographers, but rather artists who use the medium of photography to materialize their ideas and concepts. 

Indeed, the works in the "Nature & Destruction" series, which are exhibited in the main room, look like landscape paintings. But despite the at first glance realistic depiction of mountain and water panoramas, moments of irritation then arise: The colors of rock formations and rows of forests seem surreal in their shades, the physiognomy of steep faces and mountain peaks presents itself as compressed. Peaks taper to needle tips, details exhibit a staged ductus and seem to be removed from reality. It is precisely here, in this field of tension between reality and fiction, between consummate aesthetics and manipulation, that Geo and Daniel Fuchs raise, that the examination of the work begins, where the beautiful is focused, but then deliberately alienated in order to leave it open to questioning. This dialectic of beauty and destruction, which is inherent in both man and nature, characterizes the entire work of the artist couple - and here questions our claim to the truth of "nature". For every image is based on artificiality and thus already represents an act of appropriation, reinterpretation and encroachment. And once again makes us think about the fragility of existence as well as our idea of reality.

One also experiences this when viewing the "Toygiants" series in the cabinet. Here, Geo and Daniel Fuchs have photographed iconic toy figures from the private collection of Selim Varol, which they present either in the style of Thomas Ruff's famous portraits, arrange in groups, or have them compete in ironic stagings in the eternal battle of good versus evil. Again, it is the fathoming of reality that comes into play here, when plastic figures are charged with personality, rewrite or reinvent history, or show solidarity in silent harmony. The illusory world experiences its embedding in the supposed realities of the human (art) cosmos - and thus playfully generates new realities, entirely in the sense of the German word "Spielzeug".

Their interest in the archival, the collected and the undiscovered runs like a thread through the œuvre of Geo and Daniel Fuchs and manifests itself nowhere more conclusively than in the "Stasi - secret rooms" cycle. Begun in 2004, the artists tracked down and photographed secret, long-hidden locations of the former Ministry for State Security of the GDR. The aesthetics of the photographs deliberately collide with the knowledge of the injustice that took place here. Once again, Geo and Daniel Fuchs illuminate the ambivalence of beauty, which here implies horror, and show spaces as time capsules where secret activity has left its traces over decades. In keeping with the context of the hidden, selected works from the "Stasi - secret rooms" series are shown in the gallery's warehouse. Where their effect is once again potentiated. (Yorca Schmidt-Junker)

"Fragile Realities" accompanies the group exhibition "Wonderwalls" at the NRW-Forum Düsseldorf (30.09.2022 - 05.02.2023), for which Geo and Daniel Fuchs will occupy an entire room with their Toygiants. Further information can be found at nrw-forum.de/exhibitions/wonderwalls.

Geo (*1969) and Daniel Fuchs (*1966) live in the Westerwald region and work all over the world. Their series of works, which are strongly conceptual and subject to lengthy research and preparation, often take many years to complete; which is why time is an important factor in their work. They are masters at addressing niches in the form of secret archives, collections, and locations, thus anchoring them in the public consciousness, such as with "Conserving" (from 1998). They gained international fame with the "Famous Eyes" series (from 2000), where they photographed the eyes of fellow artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Andreas Gursky, Sophie Calle and many more.

Their works can be found in numerous international collections and have already been shown at the Ludwig Museum/Budapest, Pori Art Museum Finland, Nikolaj Kunsthal Copenhagen, Museo de Bellas Artes Santander and at Villa Stuck/Munich.

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