September 17 - November 5, 2005
Gallery Luisotti is pleased to announce its upcoming exhibition – Simone Nieweg. In her first solo exhibition at Gallery Luisotti, Simone Nieweg presents a stunning array of recent photographs taken within communal gardens and farmlands surrounding her native Düsseldorf, Germany and on the outskirts of Paris, France. Nieweg’s unique approach situates the viewer in a place outside our contemporary world, a parallel universe of agrarian lifestyle. Yet each of these images emerges from the heart of the urban environment, as these gardens are interspersed within and surrounding contemporary European cities. Nieweg’s photographs capture this interstitial reality, drawing upon a landscape that deflects the urban while revealing these gardens as a place of escape to an earlier era.
While her peers and predecessors of the Düsseldorf Kunstakademie, such as Andreas Gursky, Candid Hofer, Laurenz Berges or Elger Esser, have focused on man’s interaction and inhabitation in a built and engineered environment, Nieweg focuses on an agrarian and pre-modern landscape. Nieweg’s photography finds its subject in the communal gardens entrenched throughout many European cities. These small plots of green space are leased to the community for seasonal gardening, and are found in the underused sections of a city – between roadways and rivers, beside railway tracks, on the outskirts of urban development.
Simone Nieweg draws on the aesthetics of an earlier era, the work of Pieter Brueghel the Elder and Jacob van Ruisdael particularly, but equally the work of Van Gogh, placing herself in a long tradition Northern European landscape representation. Yet Nieweg works with photography, her large and bold images are cinematic, and her grids of multiple, smaller works are a filmic journey harvesting the landscape with a camera. In taking us to these remnants of an earlier, agrarian lifestyle, there is a slippage of time. While the gardens themselves are gaps of greenery within a bustling urban environment, the photographs of the gardens enhance the temporal situation of these gardens. The places depicted appear ahistorical, as if lying outside the contemporary world we inhabit. Each photograph transports us to their own otherworldly presence, and each is familiar in its evocation of an past human livelihood. The images are inhabited by no one, just the plants and structures built by the gardeners and farmers, and faint echoes of the modern lie upon distant horizon lines. These hints to our world are vague, and it is only us, as viewers of these images, who truly inhabitant these pastoral niches.