MoCP Chicago

Museum of Contemporary Photography / Columbia College Chicago | 600 S. Michigan Ave
IL-60605 Chicago

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press release

Chicago – In October 2007 the MoCP will open an exhibition of groundbreaking work by Berlin-based photographer Beate Gütschow. The large format prints on view are selections from Gütschow’s series LS (1999-2003 color landscapes) and S (2004-2006 black and white cityscapes). In conjunction with the exhibition Beate Gütschow: LS/S, the Museum of Contemporary Photography is collaborating with Aperture Publishing to release a monograph of the artist’s work in Fall 2007 comprised of her two most recent bodies of work.

In LS—short for “Landschaft,” the German word for "landscape"--Gütschow’s panoramic color landscapes are digital assemblages of details from the artist’s archive of images of trees, fields, knolls, clouds, people, and shadows. The interface between separate elements is invisible and seamless, however, the colors are eerily saturated and the use of light and shadow often contradictory. Consciously drawing on the history of landscape painting to create her tableaux, her photographs resemble the pastoral scenes painted by artists such as Claude Lorrain, John Constable, and Nicolas Poussin.

In Gütschow’s most recent series, S—short for “Stadt,” the German word for "city"--color landscapes have given way to a grayscale series of urban settings. In these, she posits another world, this one darker and more sinister than the idyllic picnic scenes of her landscapes. Mixing architectural elements taken from buildings across Europe, Japan and the United States, and barren landscapes, she constructs urban wastelands, rife with post-apocalyptic tension. She states of the work, “They could be a view into the future where modernistic architecture is a wrecked background with some extant urban elements.” The human figures Gütschow includes in these works are either homeless people or tourists, as placeless as the constructed spaces they occupy. Idle amidst the hodgepodge of futuristic concrete structures and abandoned lots, the people appear as survivors in a landscape devoid of visual or physical comfort.

ABOUT THE ARTIST Gütschow studied at the School of Fine Arts, Hamburg and at the School of Fine Arts, Oslo, Norway. She has participated in one-person and group exhibitions at venues in Germany including Städtische Galerie, Nordhorn; Produzentengalerie, Hamburg; Kunsthistortisches Institut, Bonn; and Bundeskunsthalle Bonn. Her work is in numerous collections such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She has been the recipient of numerous awards such as a Pixel Award, an Otto Dix Prize of New Media, and a Villa Aurora fellowship in Los Angeles. She lives and works in Berlin.

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Beate Gütschow: LS/S