Georg Küttinger’s collaged, composite landscapes reach beyond photography. He extends a photo’s single moment by instead using multiple exposures from a range of perspectives—the fruits of hours of observation and documentation. The densely compressed results are at once realistic and abstract, marrying the documentary with the poetic.
As observers, we tend to turn nature into a series of neatly parceled, individual landscapes, our perceptions of which remain constantly in flux. Yet time and space collapse and overlap in Küttinger’s painterly photographs, such that they appear to momentarily resolve the so-called Laocoön problem that traditionally divides the representation of narrative (the temporal) and the pictorial (the spatial) in the visual arts.
Küttinger’s work achieves this coup by digitally overlapping hundreds of unique images via an intricate process of layering. The graphic accumulation is fragmentary yet somehow still fluid, lending a kind of hard-edged, raw sensibility to his landscapes. The bald contours of the natural world are reduced to long, elemental lines that access a deeper richness afforded by multiple impressions gathered from shifting perspectives.
For Küttinger, photography is not merely a tool to capture an objective reproduction of reality. Instead, the German artist understands it as process that negotiates the exchange between the real and the imagined. His concentrated studies—“metaphors,” he has called them—help facilitate our understanding of the way we experience the world and the not-wholly-knowable choreography between reality and perception.