Ecstatic Truth: The Photography of Florian Maier-Aichen (MOCA Focus Series)
By Rebecca Morse
This catalogue accompanied the exhibition Ecstatic Truth: The Photography of Florian Maier-Aichen, on view at MOCA June – September 2007.
Florian Maier-Aichen’s photographic work portrays natural, industrial, and cultural landscapes with stylized eccentricity. Employing tropes of documentary photography in unconventional ways, Maier-Aichen creates sublime images rich with reference and allusion. While his richly hued photographs of the California coast, the Alps, and other locales are seductively beautiful in their expansive viewpoints, they are also nuanced with a subtle disquiet and criticality.
German by birth and educated at the University of Essen and the University of California, Los Angeles, Maier-Aichen challenges the stringent rules of contemporary German photography as typified by the use of diffused light and a straightforward, objective point of view. Investigating more flexible photographic strategies, Maier-Aichen begins with a traditional large-format image captured on film, framing his subjects from extreme angles or aerial views. His practice is a modern-day form of combination-printing, weaving disparate images from distinct sources and applying myriad creative adjustments to each in order to produce a seamless photograph that does not betray its intricate and layered composition. Like “photogenic matrices,” these works are more closely aligned with the conventional production of a painter than that of a photographer. In this way, Maier-Aichen’s thread of influence can be traced back to the nascence of photography, when practitioners sought ways to adapt the medium to painterly ends. Maier-Aichen’s unique palette, unconventional vantage points, and combination of photographs with hand-rendered and dropped-in details have yielded a body of work that is rich with historical and contemporary references.
Hardcover, 64 pages
Published by MOCA. 2007