Brickline 1250 – A British Wall Frieze
spatial installation, digital print on self-adhesive film, section of 17 x 1250 cm, total length 4474 cm, Hubert Blanz, 2016
A BRITISH WALL FRIEZE
Hubert Blanz’s work is defined by its focus on structures and patterns, often by tracing urban systems and architectures. His photography takes actual situations as its starting-point but only in order to use them as set pieces in creating new image patterns.
In the work developed for the ACF he installs a visual volume of photos of typical London property or garden walls. Resembling a wall ornament, this winds its way through the space, reminiscent of a panorama portrait that begins with the ACF in Kensington and continues through all of the London boroughs. It is both a positioning and an abstract image structure at the same time.
THE HOUSE OF SANTA CLAUS
In the exhibition Das Haus vom Nikolaus (The house of Santa Claus) the gallery Reinthaler shows an excerpt of Hubert Blanz’ wide body of work Homeseekers. Like in many of the other artist’s series it deals with spatial structures, architectonic situations and urban motives, whereby the origin of this project has to be found in capturing London’s facades and mural exterior walls. Blanz took over 2600 images in each boroughs of Greater London, edited and, in some extent, composed them in collages and scenes.
The reduced form is what Hubert Blanz is interested in. He spares details and objectifies his photographs. The absence of humans and the fact that there is barely any environment is strikingly obvious. This is how he intentionally achieves his ‘stage-like, naïve and viewless’ scenes.
In repeating similar subjects, photographed from different angles in order to show them as two-dimensional as possible, their importance gets emphasized even more.
This kind of approach can also be found in Blanz’ windows and light structure compositions of Chicago: Urban Codes.
Blanz is a collector of subjects. His work contains, alongside a concise amount of documentary character, the intention to evoke and allow new contexts.
Beyond example his planar and abstract way of depiction of window- and door-less house walls do remind of the children’s rhyme The house of Santa Claus: while simultaneously saying out loud all eight syllables one draws a simple house within one line.
In the exhibition Hubert Blanz shows single images, multipiece series and collages taken from edited crops. Each photograph or image contains many-faceted possibilities of perception and intends to be read so.
Expressing sociocritical questions and historical contexts is an important aspect in Hubert Blanz’ bodies of work: showing the ‘backyard scene’ is clearly more interesting than the splendour side of a building. Houses are consciously viewed from behind (‚The City from behind’) – with their bare facades without windows and doors.
The artist emphasizes his fascination for the architectonical peculiarity of the simple brick houses, which increasingly replaced the wooden buildings after the Great Fire of London in 1666.
Additionally, an essential influence on their appearance has been the window tax from 1696 and the ‚tax for light and air’ from 1746, both oft them only abolished in the mid of 19th century and therefore a significant sign for social differences during their long efficacy.
In Brickline 1250 – A British Wall Frieze Blanz creates a frieze composed out of virtually endless garden and property walls made from stone bricks, running through the gallery. When scanning the room one gets reminded of the vast wanderings through those cities Blanz makes his topic. The walking and encircling of London reflects the frieze’s arrangement.
Again we find the methodical concatenation of a similar subject in Brickline. Here, too, distinguishability is in the back seat. More important is the quest for new artistic possibilities and contexts. The construction of walls makes one think of the current world affairs.
During his investigations in London the numerous real estate listings caught Blanz’ eye. In the title Homeseekers he refers to their adverts – an elucidation of the hopeless
flat-hunting within a precarious situation of the apartment market, which one also can sense in Vienna increasingly these days.