What is looking at us from these photographs? Renowned places, holy and profane zones loaded with touristic appeals – world heritage. Severalfold overlying motives repeatedly compiled to a digital negative – we recognise the pattern of endless reprography. Inside we see humans, who practise themselves in the gesture of photography, who pose in front of their own lens or the other snappers, line up and form an order. These groups of photographing and photographed persons melt in a mutual chromatic tone, together with the cult sites, into a multi-perspective and multi-layered state of mixture that I try to enfold.
Let’s take a look at the touristic-seeming background: Grand Canyon, the Buddha of Kamakura or Angkor Wat. One tends to talk about the first conveyed touristic text by Francesco Petrarca from the 13th century. This entry allows to debate the state of motive why hundreds of thousands sally out to conquer cult sites as touristic destinations as well as to understand the photographic self-staging of the visitors at place. I’m not sure as to how far the students of this field of study are familiar with the humble attitude of the medieval thinker Petrarca, who sinks into deep doubts after the ascension of Mount Vetoux in Southern France wondering why one undertakes a widely meaningless peregrination aiming to find pleasure in movement, the view to Italy and the overcoming of physical resistances. On the mountain top, Petrarca opened a small book, the confessions of Augustine – fine literature, fits in every pocket – and the lucky one hits the right page that hasn’t lost none of its topicality until today:
“And the people wander, to marvel at the mountains’ heights, the sea’s monstrous floods, the widely flowing streams, the ocean’s width and the stars’ orbits and forget about themselves across.”
What neither Augustine nor Petrarca were to anticipate: The absent-mindedness of the people is increasable by creating a photographic portrait of themselves at their destination, in order to take home the artefact as a trophy to place it in their desired room: Photography as a proof of its presence at a holy site, charged with hopes that the eternity of the place would confer to them magically, like a second skin, as communicated by the travel agency.
The Greek word ‘fotografein’ literally means “to write with light”. The term initially appears in the 11th or 12th century in a mystical text that is about the ‘visio dei’, the vision of god. (Groebner, Valentin, Ich-Plakate, S. Fischer 2015, p. 126f.) We ask ourselves: Who might be the god on these photographs and what does he see?
The photographic compositions of Tim Bruns consist of severalfold overlying layers that promise spatial structure through different saturation, transparency or diffusion. They therein remind of the palimpsest, those pergaments that were written on several times due to scarcity. One rubbed out or washed the skins, in order to overwrite on them from anew. In this way, texts evolved like sediments, knowledge debris appearing like time travel when one follows back the illegible writing traces.
Tim Bruns uses an own photography for his works, resorts to the photographs of third parties for the composition that he finds on Flickr or Google. The exhibited artistic works are therefore compositions of shared authorship and shared attention. They show places in multi-perspective technique that impends to vanish among the myriad of its reproductions.
Martin Kreyßig, speech on the occasion of the vernissage „Überall nichts Heiliges“